Saturday, 13 December 2014

Zimbabwe: New vice presidents sworn in

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe  attempts to make Dali Thando Phekezela Mphoko, the grandson of  his Deputy President, Phekezela Mphoko, chant the party's slogan after the swearing in ceremony at State House in Harare, Friday, Dec, 12, 2014. Mphoko was sworn  in following a cabinet reshuffle that saw former deputy President Joice Mujuru dismissed from her post, over allegations that she plotted to remove the Zimbabwean President from power. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi) 
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe swore in two new vice presidents on Friday.

Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, was appointed as the senior of the two deputies during a televised ceremony. They replaced Joice Mujuru, who was fired earlier this week after she was booted from the ruling ZANU-PF party. Mugabe accused Mujuru and her allies, who were also fired, of plotting his assassination.

Mnangagwa kneeled before the 90-year-old Mugabe and his wife, Grace Mugabe, in a show of gratitude when his appointment was announced on Wednesday.

"He is the man Mugabe can trust, not just with securing his family's business but with maintaining a hardline stance as well," said Gabriel Shumba, a human rights advocate and political analyst.
A lawyer by profession, Mnangagwa will retain his position as head of the justice ministry. He and Mugabe became close allies when the two were arrested together during the struggle against white rule in the 1970s. Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980.

The two men fell out for a while when Mugabe accused Mnangagwa of plotting a coup and demoting him to a junior cabinet post in 2004. Mnangagwa's allies in the ZANU-PF party were also ousted in a purge similar to that suffered recently by Mujuru and her supporters.

The second vice president, Phelekezela Mphoko, was previously a diplomat.

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