President Robert Mugabe on Monday finally took the bold decision to fire his embattled Vice, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who he has continuously accused of plotting to overthrow him.
The announcement was contained in a statement issued on Monday afternoon by the country’s Information Minister, Simon Khaya Moyo.
Mr Mnangagwa, 75, had displayed “traits of disloyalty”, Moyo added, as the big stick was wielded on one said to be a favourite to succeed the 93-year-old leader.
“The vice president has consistently and persistently exhibited traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability,” Moyo told reporters.
“It had become evident that his conduct in his discharge of his duties had become inconsistent with his official responsibilities.”
Mnangagwa’s sacking ends months of speculation around the fate of Zimbabwe’s number two.
It also provides a boost for Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who has been a vocal critic of the vice president and is also seen as a potential successor to her husband.
Reuters reports that Mugabe’s wife had called Mnangagwa a coup plotter and a coward on Sunday in a speech that inflamed an already bad-tempered rift in the ruling Zanu-PF party.
“The snake must be hit on the head,” she had said, adding that “we must deal with the real snake behind the factions and discord in the party. We are going for the congress as a united party.”
It followed a speech by Mugabe at a rally on Saturday where he publicly rebuked his deputy for the first time.