Mugabe weakens VP Mujuru with suspensions of ZANU-PF top guns

Mugabe weakens VP Mujuru with suspensions of ZANU-PF top guns

Saturday, November 15, 2014 8:25 am

Joice Mujuru: undermined by ZANU-PF suspensions. Photo: Nehanda radio

Joice Mujuru: undermined by ZANU-PF suspensions. Photo: Nehanda radio

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has suspended several senior officials aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru, a move believed to be designed to weaken her position in the fierce battle to succeed ageing President Robert Mugabe.

A ZANU-PF politburo meeting, chaired by Mugabe, suspended National party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, expelled war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda and endorsed the suspension of half the party’s provincial chairmen, citing “disciplinary issues”.

“All these decisions taken by the politburo are with immediate effect,” ZANU-PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo told reporters, without giving details.

The suspended politicians were seen as Mugabe critics and have been accused by Mujuru’s rivals, including Mugabe’s wife Grace, of plotting a challenge to Africa’s oldest leader at a congress set for next month.

Grace and Robert Mugabe: a plot against Mujuru

Grace and Robert Mugabe: a plot against Mujuru

The 90-year-old, who has ruled the southern African country since independence from Britain in 1980, has been nominated by all the party’s 10 provinces to retain his post as party president at a congress due in the first week of December.

Mujuru became Mugabe’s deputy 10 years ago and denies plotting against him, but political observers say her denials appear only to have fuelled a campaign in state media to discredit her with reports of extortion and abuse of office.

Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are seen as Mugabe’s most likely successors when he leaves the political stage, experts say.

“It’s fair to say at this stage that the suspensions … from the Mujuru camp have weakened her quite significantly,” said Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.

Mujuru, a former guerrilla known as “Spill Blood” during the 1970s independence war, and Mnangagwa, generally called “The Crocodile,” have both served in Mugabe’s cabinet since 1980.

Mugabe won another five-year term last year in a vote condemned by the opposition as a fraud and questioned by the West.

He is eligible for a final term in 2018 but constant rumours about failing health have fanned an often vicious battle to succeed him within his ruling ZANU-PF party.

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One Comment

  • blacky says:

    zanu pf has stayed a united party for many years. There are many mistakes which the party leaders did and they got dealt with within to protect the party’s image. Now chickens are coming home to roost…. I personally believe that no one is holly, and every body has a share of his or her own mistakes and that all the blaming and name calling is unnecessary because the result is a major split in the party and obviously the other faction will gain more public favor than the other. As for me I will throw my weight behind VP Mujuru if ever she decides to form a party of her own… better the devil I know… and I also believe in her maturity. She handle matters like a leader that she is. Pamberi nemi amai. U only need to stay calm and keep your feet on the ground during the storm.

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