Zimbabwe’s vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa has been dismissed by president Robert Mugabe for allegedly being disloyal.
The decision was announced by the country’s information minister Simon Khaya Moyo, and clears the way for Mugabe’s wife, Grace, to succeed him.
Some powerful army generals backed Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe and have publicly said they will not allow someone who did not fight in the 1970s independence war to rule.
Mnangagwa took over from Joice Muguru, who was sacked after Grace launched a campaign accusing her of plotting to topple the president.
Moyo said: “The vice president has consistently and persistently exhibited traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability.
“It had become evident that his conduct in his discharge of his duties had become inconsistent with his official responsibilities.”
On Sunday Grace Mugabe called Mnangagwa a “coup plotter” and a “coward” in a speech that ruffled more than a few feathers in ZANU-PF.
Phelekezela Mphoko, another close Mugabe comrade, continues to serve as Zimbabwe’s second vice president.