World Bulletin/News Desk
Zimbabwe's vice president, accused last week by President Robert Mugabe of treachery and corruption and purged from the ruling party, dismissed the charges against her on Tuesday as "ridiculous" and said she had faced threats to her life.
At a congress of their ruling ZANU-PF party on Dec. 4, the 90-year-old Mugabe denounced Joice Mujuru, until just a few months ago his presumed successor, as leader of a "treacherous cabal" bent on removing him from power.
The denunciation was the culmination of a three-month campaign against Mujuru, 59, by Zimbabwe's state media and Mugabe's 49-year-old wife Grace.
In her first response since losing the number two post in ZANU-PF, Mujuru -- who remains Zimbabwe's vice president for now -- said there was a "vociferous" attempt to portray her as a murderer, traitor and sell-out without any evidence.
"The allegations that I, alone, or together with various distinguished comrades have sought to remove His Excellency R G Mugabe from office are ridiculous," Mujuru said in a press statement published in two private daily newspapers.
"My loyalty to His Excellency and my country Zimbabwe is unquestionable."
Last week Mugabe promoted his wife to the top ranks of ZANU-PF but delayed naming his two party deputies, prolonging anxiety over his lack of a successor in the southern African country. State media say Mugabe is now expected to name them this week.
Mujuru said some "forces", which she did not name, had pushed for her to quit both her state and party posts ahead of last week's congress, but when that failed there were "direct threats against my person and my life".
She said she decided against attending the ZANU-PF congress to avoid public humiliation.
"It was important to maintain the dignity of the office of the Vice President even in the face of such unwarranted violence by a section (of) the party membership," said Mujuru.
Mujuru, a former guerrilla, had been seen by some in Zimbabwe's business community as a common-sense leader who could have helped restore relations with the West that disintegrated during the latter half of Mugabe's 34 years in power.
Political analysts say the sidelining of Mujuru clears the path for Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, a hardline Mugabe loyalist known as 'The Crocodile', to position himself to take over when Africa's oldest head of state finally dies or retires.Last Mod: 09 Aralık 2014, 11:47