Zanu-PF suspends spokesperson as infighting escalates

2014-11-14 11:41
File: AP

File: AP

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Harare - Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo has been suspended as supporters of President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace push for the ouster of top officials linked to Vice President Joice Mujuru.

Infighting within the ruling party is reaching a peak ahead of a congress next month which will almost certainly see Grace Mugabe confirmed as the head of Zanu-PF's influential women's league.

The 49-year-old former typist's speedy political rise has been backed by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who heads one of two warring factions in Zanu-PF and is understood to be positioning himself to succeed Mugabe, 90. Mujuru leads the other faction.

"After extensive discussions amongst members of the politburo some far-reaching decisions were taken," Zanu-PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo told reporters following a meeting of Mugabe's politburo.

"Grace wars"

"Comrade Rugare Gumbo has been suspended for five years with immediate effect," he said.

The announcement was greeted with surprise by Zimbabweans on social media on Friday.

The 74-year-old is the most senior Zanu-PF official to be ousted in a purge of pro-Mujuru allies in what local critics call the "Grace wars".

State media in Zimbabwe - and Grace Mugabe - have accused Mujuru of corruption and of trying to topple the president. The campaign was recently extended to include Gumbo and other allies of Mujuru.

Last week, Gumbo was publicly denounced as a traitor and was accused of colluding with former colonial power Britain before and after independence in 1980.

The spokesperson has also served as economic development minister and agriculture minister.

He told the private Newsday paper on Friday he would "watch developments from the terraces".

Moyo, a former ambassador to South Africa, is the party's new spokesperson.

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  grace mugabe  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  rugare gumbo  |  joice mujuru  |  robert mugabe  |  simon khaya moyo  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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