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Zimbabwe’s Vice-President Implicated In Plot To Kill Robert Mugabe

The Vice-President of Zimbabwe has been implicated in a plot to kill Robert Mugabe, the authoritarian ruler of that nation since the minority white government of what used to be Rhodesia gave up power:

The deputy president of Zimbabwe has been linked to a plot to assassinate the country’s premier Robert Mugabe, according to a report in a state-run newspaper.

The Sunday Mail, which is widely seen as a mouthpiece for the Zanu-PF party of Mr Mugabe, claimed Joice Mujuru, 59, the vice-president and one of two frontrunners to succeed the 90-year-old leader, was “at the centre” of the plan led by two of her allies in the party.

The newspaper cited legal experts as calling for police to investigate the allegations, and analysts as saying the revelations made Mrs Mujuru’s continued senior position in the party “untenable”.

The assassination allegation is widely seen as another salvo in the battle for the party’s vice presidential position ahead of next month’s elective congress. The vice president will succeed Mr Mugabe when he dies or retires, but only for 90 days.

In recent months Mr Mugabe’s wife, Grace, has been campaigning in the provinces for high political office, claiming she is a presidential contender.

At a series of rallies, she has accused Mrs Mujuru, believed to be the West’s preferred Mugabe replacement, of being a thief, and of plotting a coup against her husband.

At present, Mrs Mugabe is backed by party strongman Emmerson Mnangagwa, 72. But he too has been seen as Mrs Mujuru’s greatest rival to the presidency and some analysts say that if Mr Mugabe died or retired, his support for Mrs Mugabe, would evaporate.

The allegations follow the suspension of many of Mrs Mujuru’s key supporters within Zanu-PF at a meeting of the party’s all-powerful politburo last week.

Viewed from afar, it’s quite easy to make the assumption that these charges are related to the ongoing Presidential campaign and what seems like an obvious effort by Mugabe to continue his hold on power through his wife, as well as part of a struggle inside the ruling party.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook