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Zimbabwe: Mugabe attacks his deputy, Joice Mujuru
Mugabe launched the tirade against Vice President Joice Mujuru on the eve of a crucial congress of his ruling Zanu PF party that is expected to usher in a new leadership by the end of the week.
I don’t trust a white man and all, never, ever
The elective congress opens in the capital Harare on Thursday amid an unprecedented purge of party loyalists believed to be linked to Mujuru.
Zimbabwe’s first female vice president has already lost her seat in the powerful central committee after Mugabe’s wife, Grace, accused her of plotting to oust the 90 year old ruler.
Mugabe had largely remained measured in his comments about the beleaguered vice president until the Tuesday outbreak during a meeting with military chiefs and former fighters of Zimbabwe’s liberation war.
He accused Mujuru of working with the opposition and the West in her bid to topple him.
“We are experiencing it (infighting) for the first time in Zanu PF and for that matter it’s a woman who says she wants to lead,” he said.
“She doesn’t even ask whether she’s able to handle the country, the pressures. That’s simplistic thinking; you can’t, I don’t trust a white man and all, never, ever.”
Mugabe claimed that Mujuru was not keen on having elections last year saying it was a clear sign that she was working with the opposition.
The vice president and some of her top allies have not attended the last two meetings of the Zanu PF top decision making body – the politburo – as it prepares for the congress that ends on Saturday.
Her absence also fuelled speculation in Harare that she feared for her life following serious threats against her and other senior officials perceived to be loyal to her.
Zanu PF youths have vowed to block Mujuru and her allies from attending the congress.
“Anyone who is directly linked to, or has participated in any activity, meeting or any form of unscrupulous gathering with the intention of unconstitutionally overthrowing the leadership of our revolutionary icon, the president and first secretary of Zanu-PF must peacefully excuse themselves from the 6th Zanu PF national people’s congress,” one of the youth leaders Kudzanai Chipanga told journalists in Harare.
He said the youths were bound by the party’s constitution to offer unwavering support and loyalty to Mugabe.
Mujuru was long considered a likely successor of the long serving president before she fell out of favour with the First Lady.
Mugabe’s wife also accuses the vice president of incompetence and corruption.