Sometime in 2016, gave you a story titled ‘Who is Mnangagwa? The man after Mugabe’s heart, an analytical perspective of what makes both of them tick, their personal traits, and leadership styles.

One of the commonly emphasised attributes between the two was that they both possess the tough skin of remaining calm under storm, keeping people always guessing as to what would be their next move, sometimes indicating left, but turning right.

The then Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe had kept people guessing on how he operates, when expected to comment on an issue, he may chose silence, when expected to fire someone, he may promote, when people expect him to remain silent over a matter, that’s when he opens his mouth. On the other hand, his understudy, Emmerson Mnangagwa on many occasions exhibited the same traits.

Notably, at the height of the factional wars in the ruling party under Mugabe, Mnangagwa was publicly attacked by Sarah Mahoka, and Mandiitawepi Chimene. They called him a lame duck, a back biter, a factionalist, and a disloyal person who was bent on undermining his ‘boss’ President Mugabe. Mnangagwa remained calm, and at times he would even smile at the attacks.

At one point, Mugabe even called on Mnangagwa, to give a statement in defence to the attacks, but Mnangagwa remained silent, and at last he could only dismiss the two women as misguided elements, and dogs that just bark, while he continues to rule.

“Vamwe vanongo vukura isu tichingotonga, tichingotonga,” he said then loosely translated (others bark like dogs while we continue and continue to rule) that was basically all he would say in response to the attacks.

His silence had two connotations, one it was an admission of guilty as it would be read as if he had no arsenal to defend himself, and would risk being fired, as were the calls from both Chimene and Mahoka. The other scenario was although he could and was able to defend himself, he chose not to do so, and deliberately putting himself up in the firing line of being sacked.

Mnangagwa knew very well that the allegations being levelled against him would lead to his dismissal by Mugabe, as precedent in the firing of Joice Mujuru, after similar allegations were levelled against her. Be that as it may, had that been not his plan, Mnangagwa could have fought teeth to nail in order to redeem himself; from the pending dismissal, but he chose silence.

As evidenced by the events that followed later, it became clear that Mnangagwa wanted it to happen that way, getting fired under unclear allegations that he could deny, look innocent in the eyes of many, and get public sympathy, so that Operation Restore Legacy a.k.a coup  would be easier to carry out.

He let loose his Team Lacoste guys to provoke Mugabe, especially through his wife Grace. Mnangagwa knew that at one time, she would charge her husband Mugabe to fire his deputy, Mnangagwa. He knew that Mugabe would indeed comply when Grace says it that he should fire his deputy, so that she instead position herself to take over his place, and subsequently succeed her husband later.

Team Lacoste came out publicly and clearly pointing out that Mnangagwa was their preferred leader to take over from Mugabe, they did it fully aware that by doing so they are putting their leader up for dismissal, Mnangagwa could not restrain them from doing so, he lightly distanced himself from the group, while at the same time exposing himself as the leader of the gang.

It was clear that he was the driving force behind the group, as evidenced by how they knew the events to come sooner or later, for instance Energy Mutodi a Team Lacoste member, once warned of the impending coup. While most recently, just before the coup, Christopher Mutsvangwa also predicted the way that the coup would follow, and it came out to pass exactly as he had said.

A number of people from his faction, predicted certain events at different times, an indication that they knew the plan. Even when he was fired by Mugabe on 6 November 2017, Team Lacoste members were not troubled much, they kept promising that their leader would return and take over the reins, in the not so distant future.

Few days later, Mnangagwa indeed came back as the leader.

Peter Nyoni is a Zimbabwean businessman, he travels frequently between Harare and South Africa