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Mugabe Fires War Veterans Minister as Zanu PF Wins Parly By-election

FILE: An unidentified man who was in jail with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during the liberation struggle, cries, as he greets him, during celebrations to mark his 92nd Birthday celebrations in Masvingo about 300 kilometres south of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

President Robert Mugabe on Saturday fired War Veterans Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa following a fall-out with the former freedom fighter, who was accused of gross indiscipline, after he convened a so-called illegal meeting of war veterans said to have wanted to discuss the Zimbabwean leader’s succession.

According to the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Mugabe immediately appointed former freedom fighter and Makokoba Member of Parliament, Tshinga Dube, to replace him.

Dube, who is also the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, pledged to fight for the needs of war veterans that are currently unsettled following skirmishes with the police in Harare recently when they attempted to hold the indaba convened by Mutsvangwa.

The axed Mutsvangwa told some independent newspapers that he asked Mr. Mugabe to fire him, noting that he was sick and tired of working for a thankless government.

Mutsvangwa and his colleagues are believed to be linked to a Zanu PF faction backing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the presidential post at a time when party insiders say the president appears to have almost lost control of the party.

Christopher Mutsvangwa has been fired by President Mugabe.
Christopher Mutsvangwa has been fired by President Mugabe.

The Mnangagwa faction, nicknamed Team Lacoste, is currently backpedalling following the disciplining of Mutsvangwa, who was last week suspended from the ruling party for three years for gross indiscipline.

Some of the party members linked to this faction have been expelled from President Mugabe’s party for allegedly insulting First Lady Grace Mugabe, among many other issues.

Mrs. Mugabe is also allegedly being backed by a group of Zanu PF members calling themselves Generation 40, who want her to succeed the 92 year-old president that has been in power for more than 35 years.

Factionalism has ravaged the former liberation movement, which expelled former Vice President Joice Mujuru and several other top officials, for allegedly attempting to topple Mr. Mugabe.

The former vice president has formed her own party named the Zimbabwe People First.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has announced that George Gangarahwe is the winner of the Mhondoro-Mubaira parliamentary by-election after beating his nearest rival Rodwell Nyanganya of the Freedon Front party.

The seat fell vacant following the expulsion of then Zanu PF legislator Sylvester Nguni from the party.