HARARE (AA) – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday sacked his Vice President Joyce Mujuru and eight cabinet ministers, the first such drastic measure since 1980.
“President Mugabe has exercised his powers to relive Mujuru of her position with immediate effect,” the presidency said in a statement.
“It had become evident that her conduct in the discharge of her duties had become inconsistent with expected standard, exhibiting conflict between official responsibilities and private interests,” it added.
Mujuru was removed from the ruling ZANU-PF party’s central committee during an elective congress last week.
Mugabe also sacked eight cabinet ministers, said to be close to Mujuru.
Sources say the letters of dismissal were delivered last night ahead of the Tuesday cabinet meeting chaired by the president.
Mujuru has recently been accused of corruption and plotting to kill 90-year-old Mugabe, currently serving a seventh five-year presidential term.
But she has dismissed the accusations against her.
“A vociferous attempt has been made to portray me as ‘a traitor,’ ‘murderer’ and ‘sellout,’ yet no iota of evidence has been produced to give credence to the allegations,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mujuru has been seen as a possible successor for Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.
Many observers believe Mugabe’s wife, Grace, is behind the sacking decision especially that she had openly attacked Mujuru and accused her of trying to topple the regime.
Grace, who was elected head of the ruling party’s women wing last week, is now widely seen as a possible successor for her husband.
Enerst Mudzengi, a political analyst in Harare, says Mugabe has failed to produce evidence against Mujuru and the sacked ministers.
“Mugabe is paranoid and his actions are an indication he is taking seriously allegations against Mujuru and senior party officials by his wife,” he told The Anadolu Agency.
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