Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Fires Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses a meeting of his ruling ZANU PF party’s youth league in Harare, Zimbabwe, Oct. 7, 2017.

Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, has dismissed a deputy who was once seen as his possible successor.

The firing of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa could open a path to the presidency for Mugabe’s wife Grace, who has made her political ambitions known over the past three years.

The government announced Monday that Mnangagwa was removed from his post “with immediate effect.”

An explanation for the move came from Minister of Information Simon Khaya Moyo, who told VOA’s Zimbabwe Service that “the vice president has consistently and persistently exhibited traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability.”

Signs of Mnangagwa’s pending ouster have been around for some time, but escalated over the weekend, during a youth rally for the ruling ZANU-PF party in the city of Bulawayo.

There, President Mugabe denounced those who criticize him in the name of Mnangagwa. In a tone of anger, he asked, “Did I fail in making Mnangagwa as my deputy? If I failed, I will drop him, even tomorrow.”

This is the second time in three years the 93-year-old Mugabe has unceremoniously fired one of his vice presidents following allegations of factionalism and disloyalty. In 2014, he dismissed Joice Mujuru after she was harshly criticized by Grace Mugabe.

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