Mugabe names new vice president

Emmerson Mnangagwa takes over from Joice Mujuru who was sacked along with eight ministers.

A file photo taken on 2 May, 2008 shows Zimbabwe's ruling party ZANU-PF then election agent, Emmerson Mnangagwa, addressing a press conference in Harare. Picture: AFP.

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has appointed justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice president of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

He takes over from Joice Mujuru who was sacked along with eight ministers yesterday.

The veteran leader also named former diplomat Phelekezela Mphoko as the second vice president and said the two would be sworn in on Friday.

This appointment had been widely forecast and it represents a triumph for Mnangagwa.

He has led a faction within the ruling party tussling for the prime position in the race to succeed Mugabe.

The new vice president has long been Mujuru's main rival, having fallen out with her husband Solomon in the 1990s.

This elevation means that Mnangagwa is in prime position to succeed Mugabe, who turns 91 in February.

The current political infighting comes against a backdrop of slowing economic growth and high unemployment.