Mugabe Fires VP, Clears Wife’s Way To Top Job
President Robert Mugabe fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday, the government said, as the veteran leader appeared to clear the way for his wife Grace to succeed him. The dramatic move came after a tense weekend in which Mnangagwa and Grace Mugabe — who were seen as the leading candidates to replace the 93-year-old president — openly traded barbs.
“The vice president has consistently and persistently exhibited the traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability,” Information Minister Simon Khaya Moyo told a press briefing in Harare as he announced the removal.
On Saturday Mugabe openly threatened to fire Mnangagwa, accusing him of fanning factionalism to garner support ahead of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s special congress due in December, after his wife was booed at a rally.
She shouted back at the hecklers: “If you have been paid to boo me, boo, go ahead… I don’t care, I am powerful.”
“We are denigrated and insulted in the name of Mnangagwa. Did I make a mistake in appointing him as my deputy?” the president asked the crowd following the incident. Grace Mugabe responded defiantly again on Sunday by saying she was ready when the time came to succeed her husband.
Mugabe has given no indication that he will step down soon. His ZANU-PF party has already named him as its candidate for next year’s presidential election.
No one has yet been named to replace Mnangagwa as the government’s number two and it is not thought it will happen before the party congress next month. The date for the meeting has yet to be released.
The main opposition MDC party said that the move showed the government could not be trusted with the country’s future.