Mugabe deputy dismisses take-over rumour

Zimbabwe Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. PHOTO | FILE 

Zimbabwe's acting president has dismissed rumours that he wants to take over power from the 92 year old ruler.

The move followed a leaked picture of Emmerson Mnangagwa holding a mug inscribed “I am the boss” went viral.

The Vice President on Thursday complained that there were unnamed people who were trying to drive a wedge between him and President Mugabe by peddling rumours.

Mr Mnangagwa is the acting president as the veteran ruler is in China for his annual month long holiday.

Higher Education minister, Jonathan Moyo, sparked a storm on Twitter when he raised questions about a picture of the acting president holding the white and blue mug that was circulating on social media.

The picture was reportedly taken at a Christmas party and State media said the mug was among presents the acting president received at the event.

Mr Mnangagwa was pictured with a controversial businessman who frequently attacks President Mugabe on Facebook while praising his deputy.

State owned media accused Prof Moyo of “trying to give a sinister reading to the picture.”

In a statement, Mr Mnangagwa attacked people that he said often claimed to be speaking on his behalf while attacking President Mugabe.

“Against the background of many utterances and activities, all of them unsolicited but claiming or seeking association with my person, my family and or my position both in Zanu PF and government, I want to make it clear that there are elements on the loose who talk and act as if they support me and or the party, Zanu PF, when in fact they are being handled and managed from elsewhere by hostile forces,” he said.

Last year, former liberation war fighters announced that they were severing ties with President Mugabe because he was refusing to relinquish power to his deputy.

The president reacted by firing the then War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa from his government but the former fighters say they are still loyal to Mr Mnangagwa.

“These elements are against the president, are against the party and its leadership,” Mr Mnangagwa added. “In other instances, they have a history of disloyalty to the party and hostility to the president, which is well documented.

“It is preposterous to claim to support or act in the name of the party or of individuals in Zanu PF, while at the same time attacking President Robert Gabriel Mugabe himself the undisputed leader of our party.”

Some ministers including Prof Moyo have accused Mr Mnangagwa of plotting to unseat the president.

President Mugabe wants to stand for another five year term in elections due next year.

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