World Bulletin / News Desk
On August 17, the Zimbabwean government issued an official denial that Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was vice president at the time, had eaten ice cream at a political rally.
"Yes, there was ice cream. I ate it, many people ate the ice cream, but he did not eat the ice cream himself."
The denial was an attempt to quash reports that Mnangagwa had been poisoned by ice cream made at the large Gushungo dairy owned Robert Mugabe -- who resigned as president on Tuesday -- and his wife Grace.
At the time, Mnangagwa and the first lady were locked in a bitter battle to succeed the ageing 93-year-old president, with hostilities erupting in public after years of behind-the-scenes plotting.
The struggle was ultimately won by Mnangagwa who was inaugurated as president on Friday after a military takeover and mass street protests which quickly brought about Mugabe's departure.
The ice cream scandal was one of the more colourful details of the extraordinary fall of Mugabe, whose 37-year reign came crashing down over his efforts to promote Grace as his heir.
Mnangagwa was taken seriously ill after eating at the rally and had to be urgently flown to neighbouring South Africa for emergency treatment with his life apparently at risk.
Rumours that he had died spread panic, and he only returned to Zimbabwe several days later, still in poor health.
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