Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has spoken of his anger that his embattled VP Joice Mujuru allegedly plotted to assassinate him and accused her of being a thief.
Speaking at the ruling Zanu-PF party’s congress, Robert Mugabe said he would act against all corrupt officials.
Joice Mujuru’s absence from the congress showed she was “scared”, he added.
She is also Vice-President of Zanu-PF.
Robert Mugabe, 90, had targeted Joice Mujuru to advance the “fortunes” of his wife Grace, the former Zanu-PF spokesman added.
Joice Mujuru, who has previously denied the allegations, had been seen as a potential successor to Robert Mugabe, with whom she fought for Zimbabwe’s independence from white-minority rule.
The congress, being held in the capital Harare, is expected to elect Grace Mugabe as the head of Zanu-PF’s women’s wing.
Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, will remain as Zanu-PF leader.
He told thousands of delegates that he welcomed the fact that his wife had exposed Joyce Mujuru’s attempt to oust him.
“Thieves never succeed… look at all the transgressions. Her corruption is now exposed,” Robert Mugabe said.
Robert Mugabe, while speaking in the local Shona language, said Joice Mujuru planned to assassinate him but in English he only accused her of trying to have him “kicked out” by bribing delegates.
“But you delegates are not foolish. You can’t be bought,” he added.
Vowing to tackle corruption, Robert Mugabe said: “If you were a minister, you will lose your job. Some will face the full might of the law.”
Joice Mujuru was first accused in the state-owned media of plotting to kill Robert Mugabe and has instructed her lawyers to take legal action to clear her name.
Referring to her and her allies’ failure to attend the congress, Robert Mugabe said: “As you see we have empty spaces on the stage. We didn’t chase them away but they chose not to come.”
Correspondents say Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is now among the candidates being tipped to succeed Joyce Mujuru, her long-time rival.
Joice Mujuru, 59, took part in the 1970s guerrilla war against white-minority rule when her nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood). She married Solomon Mujuru, the former army chief seen as Zimbabwe’s king-maker in 1977. Solomon Mujuru died in a fire at his farm in 2011.
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