Robert Mugabe’s former intelligence chief and Gukurahundi mastermind Emmerson Mnangagwa has been fired from his post as Zimbabwe’s vice president, plunging the troubled Southern African nation into further crisis.
Information Minister Simon Khaya Moyo said Mr Mnangagwa, 75 has been sacked for exhibiting traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability.
Senate President Edna Madzongwe has been sworn in as acting vice-president, reports Mail and Guardian.
The latest developments come after ambitious Grace Mugabe, leader of the powerful women’s league openly declared war Mnangagwa on Saturday during a Presidential Youth Interface Rally in Bulawayo and later on Sunday when she called him a snake and disloyal cadre who has wanted to topple her husband since 1980.
Mr Mnangagwa was last month also fired from his post as Minister of Justice after being accused of being accused of using the portfolio to target political enemies .
Mnangagwa, nicknamed the Crocodile, was a hardliner with close links to Zimbabwe’s security services – and a long-time ally of the president, having worked in Mugabe’s office during the liberation struggle in the 1970s.
In the 1980s , Mnangagwa played an active role in the Gukurahundi massacres, which reportedly claimed over 20 000 lives in Matabeleland and Midlands regions .
Mnangagwa’s sudden demotion is likely to pave the way for Grace Mugabe, the president’s wife, to assume more political power, after next month’s ruling party conference.