ACTING President Constantino Chiwenga Monday took guests by surprise when he poured his champagne onto the floor after leading a toast for the delivery of a Malaysian Boeing 777-220 to troubled national carrier Air Zimbabwe at a Harare event he presided over.
The VP did not explain his seemingly unorthodox gesture.
The event took place at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and was attended by Transport Minister Biggie Matiza, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa and other government officials.After proposing a toast, Chiwenga tilted his glass three times in quick succession as he poured the contents of the transparent container onto the floor and did not attempt to take any sip from the residue. Guests who witnessed the event could only clap hands which they accompanied with giggles although they remained puzzled as to why their revered guest of honour found the floor a more appropriate consumer of the drink.It could not be established if the VP took any other food during the event.
While the VP’s drinking habits remain unknown, Chiwenga was in and out of hospitals for some time last year amid suspicion his health nightmares were a result of food poisoning.There has been no evidence brought onto the public domain to support the claims.However, the most common story of a Vice President being poisoned in a public event was that of the now President Emmerson Mnangagwa who was August 2017 flown to South African after he reportedly ingested ice-cream laced with poison at then State President Robert Mugabe’s Gwanda rally.
At the time, Mnangagwa was a marked figure by the then first family for his unbridled presidential ambitions which he later demonstrated through his shock ousting of the now late leader three months later.According to Chiwenga’s estranged wife Marry, the VP has been taking some unprescribed drugs on noticing chances of one day becoming national leader were diminishing by the day.Chiwenga has not commented on the statement and neither has he ever come out public about harbouring any ambitions of becoming President.
Acting President Constantino Chiwenga raised a few eyebrows on Monday when he seemingly refused to drink champagne and instead poured it onto the floor. This occured after Chiwenga made a toast to the revival of struggling national airline Air Zimbabwe. However, after clinking his champagne glass with those of the other dignitaries at the event, Chiwenga chose not to partake and poured his drink onto the floor.
Ironically though, the other ministers officiating at the event, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa and Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza and senior executives from Air Zimbabwe all drank from their glasses.
This has raised speculation that perhaps Chiwenga is paranoid about getting poisoned and is now very careful about what he puts in his mouth. Chiwenga spent more than four months in China last year getting treated for an undisclosed ailment which he claimed would have certainly killed him if it was not for the intervention of the Chinese. There was speculation that Chiwenga may have got sick after being poisoned.
Poisoning seems to be a favoured way of dealing with political rivals in Zimbabwe’s political landscape. In 2017, (then) Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was airlifted to South Africa from a political rally apparently after eating poisoned ice cream. Mnangagwa later confirmed that he had indeed been poisoned at the Zanu-PF rally in Gwanda.
Former Zanu-PF stalwart and Mnangagwa ally, the late Shuvai Mahofa was also allegedly poisoned at the Zanu PF annual conference held in Victoria Falls in December 2015. She was also airlifted to South Africa where she later recovered.