Robert Mugabe sacks deputy to pave route to power for wife Grace

May 2008 shows Zimbabwe's ruling party ZANU-PF then election agent Emmerson Mnangagwa addressing a press conference in Harare

BREAKING: Mugabe fires VP Mnangagwa

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday fired a vice president who had previously been seen as a likely successor, removing an obstacle to the presidential ambitions of Mugabe's wife. Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was removed from office "with immediate effect".

On Saturday, the 93-year-old president threatened to fire Mnangagwa, accusing him of fanning factionalism to garner support ahead of a party special congress due in December, after Grace was booed at a weekend rally.

Information minister Simon Khaya Moyo said Mr Mnangagwa had been "disloyal" and that his conduct in carrying out his duties was "inconsistent with the responsibilities".

Fifty-two year old Grace Mugabe accused Mnangagwa of attempting to "carry out a coup" against the president and said at a rally in Harare on Sunday that she had told her husband that he should leave his position for her, Bloomberg reports.

In 2014, Mugabe expelled his female deputy Joice Mujuru on allegations of plotting to topple his through, among others, witchcraft allegations.

Moyo said Mnangagwa had exhibited traits of disloyalty, disrespect and deceit.

The incident triggered calls for Mnangagwa's ouster from both ZANU PF and the government.

"We need someone who is acceptable and with unquestionable loyalty to the party and its principal, the President Comrade RG Mugabe", Kudzai Chipanga, ZANU-PF youth league leader.

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