Mugabe makes call for unity after purging successor

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was speaking at the state funeral of party cadre Kotsho Dube.

Zimbabwean President and Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe (L) and his wife Grace greets delegates during the official opening of the 6th People’s Congress of Zanu-PF in Harare on 4 December, 2014. Picture: AFP.

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Not even a day after he ended his party's much-anticipated national congress, President Robert Mugabe has made another speech and this time he's made a surprising call for unity.

The longtime Zimbabwean leader's party is torn by bitter infighting and several of his ministers and his vice president have been excluded from his powerful central committee.

Earlier this week the ninety-year-old President who has ruled since 1980, purged Vice President Joice Mujuru, seen as his most likely successor, denouncing her before party loyalists as leader of a "treacherous cabal" bent on ousting him.

In a thunderous speech to 12,000 cadres of his Zanu-PF party, Mugabe threatened to turn the law on Mujuru, whose status as presumed successor for Africa's oldest head of state has evaporated in the past three months since she became the target of attacks in state media.

This was President Robert Mugabe in a sombre mood speaking at the state funeral of party cadre Kotsho Dube, who died on Monday.

Recapping events in Zimbabwe's history going back to its first days as a colony, Mugabe said that only with unity could the nation survive.

Was this an olive branch? It did not appear so though the much-maligned Mujuru was out in public this morning for the first time in days.

Mugabe's deputy went to view Dube's body as it lay in state in Mbare township shortly before the burial.