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Zimbabwe vice president vows to fight back

13 January 2015, 18:54

Harare - Zimbabwe ruling party officials ousted in a purge against allies of President Robert Mugabe's former deputy Joice Mujuru vowed on Tuesday to launch a legal fight to regain control of the party.

The disaffected party cadres called the party's December congress which elected new leaders "illegal", saying "there is neither constitutional nor moral authority for it to form structures that can lead both the party and the government".

Former party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said they would use "legal channels to reclaim the leadership of the party from the jaws of political vultures" for all "the loyal members of ZANU-PF who are determined to restore the image of our party".

Scores of party officials -- including Mutasa, party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, party commissar Webster Shamu and war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda -- were fired last year after being accused of siding with former vice president Mujuru.

Mugabe also fired nine cabinet ministers and six deputy ministers aligned to Mujuru.

Once seen as favourite to step into Mugabe's shoes, Mujuru came under attack in 2014 -- notably from Mugabe's increasingly powerful wife Grace.

Mujuru was accused of plotting to assassinate the president, fomenting factional divisions in the ruling party, and of dodgy business dealings.

She was replaced as vice president by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in December, a long-time ally of Mugabe.

The ousted party members refuted the allegations against her as "a malicious and preposterous campaign to tarnish and obliterate Amai (Mrs) Mujuru's history."

They bemoaned the takeover of the party by a "dictatorship and personality cults created as weapons to gain or retain power".

"This clique has introduced a sinister political culture of hatred, corruption, conflict, division, indiscipline, manipulation and recklessness," Mutasa said.

"Outside the party and the country's constitutions and any moral tenets, Amai (Mrs) Grace Mugabe went around the country preaching the gospel of hate in the presence of our very impressionable youths and the traumatized impoverished population."

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