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Mugabe accuses ex vice-president of scheming against him

He said his former longtime ally Emmerson Mnangagwa had been plotting against him.

Mr Mugabe claimed his vice-president had consulted witch doctors in a bid to oust him
Mr Mugabe claimed his vice-president had consulted witch doctors in a bid to oust him AP

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has said he fired his longtime ally Emmerson Mnangagwa because the vice-president had been scheming to take power, including consulting witch doctors on the matter.

It is the first time the 93-year-old has spoken publicly since firing Mr Mnangagwa, who fled the country but has vowed to return.

In a statement obtained by the Associated Press Mr Mnangagwa said he and his family had been force to flee Zimbabwe because of "incessant threats".

He did not give his location.

On Wednesday Mr Mugabe told a cheering crowd that Mr Mnangagwa had plotted to take over as leader since taking up the role of vice-president.

Mr Mnangagwa has fled the country but has vowed to return
Mr Mnangagwa has fled the country but has vowed to return AP

Mr Mnangagwa became vice-president in 2014, replacing Joice Mujuru, who Mr Mugabe also ousted and accused of using witchcraft to take power.

"We have kicked [Emmerson Mnangagwa] out for the same reasons that saw us chasing away Mujuru," Mugabe told his supporters.

"People were told that I will retire in March but I did not. Upon realising that I wasn't, he started consulting traditional healers on when I was going to die."

Observers say the denigrating of Mr Mnangagwa is the clearest sign yet the ageing Mr Mugabe is preparing his wife, Grace, to succeed him.

Later on Wednesday, Zimbabwe's War Veterans Association, which is loyal to Mr Mnangagwa, said it had expelled Mr Mugabe as its leader and had formed a revolutionary council to take over Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

"We have completely disowned Mugabe," said a statement issued from Johannesburg in South Africa by war veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa.

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