Africa

Zimbabwe's Mugabe sacks Vice-President Joice Mujuru over 'plot'

Joice Mujuru Image copyright AP
Image caption Mrs Mujuru, 59, was once seen as a possible successor to Mr Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has sacked his vice-president, Joice Mujuru, after accusing her of corruption and plotting to kill him.

Mr Mugabe also dismissed seven government ministers in connection with the alleged plot, a statement said.

Mrs Mujuru, once seen as a possible future leader of Zimbabwe, has denied plotting against the president.

State media and Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace, have conducted a campaign against her for months.

"President RG Mugabe has exercised his executive powers to release the Honourable Joice Mujuru… with immediate effect," said a statement issued by chief secretary to the cabinet Misheck Sibanda.

Mrs Mujuru's conduct had been "inconsistent with the expected standard", it said.

'Web of lies'

The ministers whose sacking was announced on Tuesday included State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa - another long-time ally of Mr Mugabe - and Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, who was seen as close to Mrs Mujuru.

There was no immediate word on replacements.

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Media captionMugabe's opponents - in 90 seconds

The sackings come a week after Mr Mugabe denounced his vice-president at a party congress and removed her from her post in the ruling party, Zanu-PF.

Mrs Mujuru responded on Tuesday by saying her loyalty to Mr Mugabe was "unquestionable" and it was "repugnant" and "ridiculous" to suggest she had plotted to kill him or wanted to remove him from office.

She said Zimbabwe's state media had "continued to publish malicious untruths" about her and that she had "become the fly in a web of lies whose final objective is the destruction of Zanu-PF".

'Treachery'

Her accusers, she said, had produced "not a single iota of evidence" against her.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Grace Mugabe has conducted a three-month campaign against Mrs Mujuru

Mr Mugabe, 90, has been in power since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. He is due to stand for election again in 2018.

Mrs Mujuru fought alongside him in the 1970s guerrilla war against white-minority rule and had been thought a possible successor as president.

But correspondents say her career ran into trouble when Mr Mugabe's wife entered politics earlier this year.


Analysis - By Brian Hungwe, BBC News, Harare

Image copyright AFP

Mrs Mujuru's sacking was not a huge surprise. She has been under siege for the past three months and her relationship with Mr Mugabe had broken down.

Grace Mugabe has been spewing vitriol at public rallies, telling the vice-president to resign or apologise. Mrs Mujuru has dug in despite the gravity of the allegations.

Now her sacking is official, the public eagerly await her next move.

She appears ready to face the consequences of the situation - but her options are limited. She is damned if she leaves the party, damned if she stays.

Her supporters may press her to join the opposition trenches. That could be dangerous, given the threats by Mr Mugabe of imminent arrest. The intelligence services are known to keep files of "dirt" for use against those who defect.

If she stays, she will be a diminished and disparaged figure, likely to demoralise those allies who would be prepared to leave with her.


Mrs Mugabe repeatedly accused Mrs Mujuru of plotting against her husband and Mr Mugabe told delegates at the party congress that he welcomed his wife's action to expose the alleged treachery.

Grace Mugabe, 49, once her husband's secretary, is now a senior party figure, having been appointed leader of Zanu-PF's women's wing last week.

Speculation is building that she may seek to succeed Mr Mugabe when he retires or dies.

Correspondents say another prominent figure expected to benefit from the political demise of Mrs Mujuru is the veteran Justice Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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