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Can President Mugabe Fire VP Mujuru?

FILE: IN GOOD TIMES - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, left, celebrates with newly sworn-in vice presidents Joyce Mujuru, right, and Joseph Msika, center, State House, Harare, Oct. 2008 file photo.

President Robert Mugabe does not have constitutional powers to fire his deputy, Joice Mujuru, as is being demanded by his wife, Grace, and others in a Zanu PF faction said to be backing the ascendancy of Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as the president’s heir-apparent.

Local think-tank, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, says this explains the attacks the first lady has been leading in trying to force Mrs. Mujuru to resign from her position.

Speaking to Studio 7 in Harare on Friday, director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, Pedzisai Ruhanya, said the country’s new constitution, adopted at a referendum ahead of last year’s elections, does not give President Mugabe the power to dismiss beleaguered Vice President Mujuru.

Mrs. Mugabe, who is set to become the boss of Zanu PF’s Women League at the ruling party’s elective congress set for next month, has repeatedly called for Mrs. Mujuru’s ouster accusing her of corruption, incompetency and allegedly plotting to assassinate her husband.

This week, the first lady called on Mr. Mugabe to fire Mrs. Mujuru but Ruhanya says that is a no-go area.

Ruhanya added that Mr. Mugabe may also find it difficult to find support in both houses of parliament, arguing that Mrs. Mujuru still has control in both houses.

But independent political analyst, Takura Zhangazha, told Studio 7 by phone that the one who has the power to appoint also has the power to dis-appoint.

Some political analysts say the internal fissures in Zanu PF ahead of its congress were exacerbated by President Mugabe’s failure to groom a successor as was done by other regional leaders like Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, avoiding cracks that are seen by many to be destroying the Zanu PF fabric.

Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are reportedly leading factions angling to succeed Mr. Mugabe when he eventually leaves office. But the two faction leaders have publicly denied this saying they are all rallying behind President Mugabe.

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