For many in the giant stadium, the briefcases – once the symbol of the genteel working man – passed off for mere office paraphernalia. Except they were not. The briefcases were in fact concealed guns, the latest tools in Mnangagwa's increasingly paranoid security team.
At the pull of a trigger built into the briefcase's handle, the fashion accessory turns into a deadly weapon which can discharge a good burst of firepower – on average 30 rounds – through a hole in the wall of the case.
Despite its interesting design, the Briefcase gun never really caught on with major security agencies – largely because it is considered not to be very effective. Gun experts say besides being hard to aim a briefcase, it is easy to wrestle away in a close quarters combat situation and once the magazine has been drained, it is awkward to reload.
First made in the 1970s by the German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch in response to terrorist abductions of VIPs, the Briefcase gun became an accessory of choice for bodyguards who needed weapons, but also needed to be discreet.The last time the Briefcase gun made an international splash was in April 2003 when United States soldiers stumbled on 22 new-in-the-box kits complete with the Heckler & Koch Maschinenpistole 5 (MP5K) sub-machine guns in a Baghdad weapons cache after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Mnangagwa has recently been seen wearing a bulletproof vest and his security team has been visibly beefed up.
A drone flew overhead and VIPs attending the event went through body scanners.
A bomb exploded meters from Mnangagwa as he left White City Stadium in June last year, emphasizing a new instability since he took power with the help of the military in November 2017.
Splits within Zanu PF, growing opposition to his rule and the residual threat of former President Robert Mugabe's loyalists have kept Mnangagwa on edge.
Recently, his wife Auxillia was recorded railing at a top military commander, accusing him of spying on her and plotting against her husband.
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