Zanu-PF infighting worsens, US dollars raised for party congress

Joice Mujuru has become a de facto opposition figure in the wake of unprecedented criticism.

Deputy President of Zimbabwe Joice Mujuru. Picture: EPA.

HARARE, Zimbabwe - As political infighting worsens in President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, a dinner at which his much-maligned deputy Joice Mujuru was guest of honour has raised one million US dollars ahead of Zanu-PF's congress next month.

Mujuru has become a de facto opposition figure in the wake of unprecedented criticism from President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and state media.

The Deputy President has been accused of corruption by Mugabe's wife Grace, but one analyst says the storm in the ruling party has now made the vice president the most popular person in the country.

Tickets for this dinner didn't come cheap - the most expensive table was going for 100,000 US dollars.

Mujuru and her political allies have been mauled in the state-run press on allegations of corruption and trying to topple President Robert Mugabe.

But those accusations don't appear to have deterred party supporters from attending the dinner on Friday, the official Sunday Mail says 1 million US dollars was raked in.

Prominent local analyst Ibbo Mandaza told today's _Standard _newspaper that Mujuru has actually become the most popular person in Zimbabwe.

On Saturday the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) held a congress to elect new leaders with Morgan Tsvangirai almost certain to retain his post as party president.