The ruling Zanu-PF party's Politburo has expelled former Vice President Joice Mujuru for alleged indiscipline.
Party spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed the expulsion.
But the de facto spokesperson of the Mujuru group, Rugare Gumbo, says they refuse to be expelled from the party they helped form.
Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 that, “we do not recognize the expulsion and we refuse to be expelled from Zanu-PF. I am yet to consult Mrs. Mujuru about this development; you can call me Friday for further comment.”
The First Lady, Grace Mugabe, rumored to be battling colon cancer, attended the 7-hour Politburo indaba.
The Politburo, which met Thursday at the party headquarters in Harare, also resolved to uphold the votes of no confidence handed to some party members in the run-up to the party congress in December last year.
Accusations against Mrs. Mujuru started in part by Mr. Mugabe’s wife, Grace, last year, led to her removal as vice president of both the country and her ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party.
Mrs. Mujuru joins the growing list of those expelled from the party who include former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, former spokesman Gumbo, former Hurungwe West lawmaker Temba Mliswa and former war veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda.
The devastation has been tenfold bigger than the 2004 aftermath of the infamous Tsholotsho declaration. When President Mugabe felt threatened by now Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and information tsar Jonathan Moyo’s Dinyane meeting, six provincial chairpersons were summarily suspended from the party.
Mnangagwa was demoted to the insignificant National Housing and Social Amenities ministry while Moyo was expelled from the party. But Mr. Mugabe is now employing the same scotched earth policy and similar template to target Mrs. Mujuru and her allies. Nine out of ten chairpersons sympathetic to her have been suspended.
The nine are the now expelled Temba Mliswa (Mashonaland West), James Mushore (Mashonaland Central) Ray Kaukonde (Mashonaland East), Amos Midzi (Harare), John Shumba Mvundura (Manicaland), Jason Machaya (Midlands), Kalisto Gwanetsa (Masvingo), Andrew Langa (Matabeleland South) and Callistus Ndlovu (Bulawayo).
What triggered the expulsion is still unclear, but party insiders told Studio 7 that Mr. Mugabe suspects that Mrs. Mujuru has been using fronts such as Mutasa and Gumbo to fight the party in court challenging the constitutionality of the December congress.
Mrs. Mujuru drew the ire of the party when she accused Mr. Mugabe of “using and abusing her”.
The former vice president told the Zimbabwe Independent last week that she feels betrayed by President Mugabe because of how far back they came from and the way she was treated.
Mrs. Mujuru also complained that she feels used and abused by Mr. Mugabe, his wife Grace and their supporters who have called her names and hounded her out of her positions amid a political storm and accusations of corruption as well as assassination plots she vehemently denies.
She was not reachable to comment about her expulsion.