In Summary
  • Mnangagwa's replacement as justice minister, Bonyongwe, is a retired army major general, who was the director general of the country's feared intelligence service.
  • Mugabe, 93, has tried to enforce strict discipline in his ruling Zanu-PF party for decades and avoided naming a successor even as concerns have grown over his advanced age and failing health.

HARARE

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has stripped one of the top candidates to succeed him of a cabinet post, as the battle to replace the long-ruling leader intensifies.

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who also doubled as minister of justice, was replaced by ruling Zanu-PF party loyalist Happyton Bonyongwe. Mnangagwa will stay on as one of Mugabe's two vice presidents.

Mugabe, 93, has tried to enforce strict discipline in his ruling Zanu-PF party for decades and avoided naming a successor even as concerns have grown over his advanced age and failing health.

But the shake-up comes as infighting deepens in the Zanu-PF over who will take over from Mugabe, including allegations from Mnangagwa he was poisoned.

Mnangagwa's supporters allege he was struck down by poison-laced ice cream produced on a farm owned by first lady Grace Mugabe, who is also seen as harbouring ambitions to take over from her ageing husband.

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