Zimbabwe Vice President Joice Mujuru has been ousted from the ruling party’s powerful central committee after being accused of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe, state media reported Wednesday.
A provincial executive committee refused to accept Mujuru’s election papers ahead of a key ZANU-PF party congress next week after a campaign against her led by Mugabe’s wife Grace.
Mujuru’s home district “rejected her application in elections that saw a number of other Zanu-PF bigwigs linked to her nefarious activities to oust President Robert Mugabe also failing to make it,” the paper said.
Mujuru has been the target of sustained attacks in pro-government newspapers as factions within the party jostle to take power when 90-year-old Mugabe steps down or dies.
Mujuru and powerful Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa were seen as the leading contenders to replace Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.
The battle escalated following Grace Mugabe’s surprise nomination to lead the powerful women’s wing of ZANU-PF, prompting speculation that she wanted the top job herself.
Robert Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, is expected to be confirmed as the party’s leader at the congress early in December, but the fight for positions on the powerful politburo could be decisive for the campaign to succeed him.
Mujuru’s failure to win a place in the central committee means she ceases to be in the party’s top leadership even before the congress starts on December 3.