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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

 

Zimbabwean vice president attacks colleague over poisoning claims

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has made a rare move to attack his colleague by issuing a press statement chastising Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa for claiming that his recent illness was a result of deliberate poisoning.

The statement, dated Oct. 3 when Mphoko was acting president while President Robert Mugabe was in South Africa, was published Thursday.

Mnangagwa was recently quoted by state radio as saying that he had been poisoned on August 12 on the day of a rally that was addressed by Mugabe in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province.

He allegedly likened his situation to that of the late minister of state for Masvingo Province Shuvai Mahofa who was allegedly poisoned at a ruling Zanu-PF conference in Victoria Falls in 2015.

Mahofa died early August, with sections of the media attributing the death to the alleged poisoning.

However, Mphoko said contrary to Mnangagwa’s statement, his doctor had confirmed to Mugabe, in Mnangagwa’s presence, that he had not been poisoned.

He accused Mnangagwa of challenging Mugabe’s public account of the events that followed his illness.

“It must be said that Mnangagwa’s statement that he was poisoned, when his medical doctor has authoritatively said he was not, is disappointing,” Mphoko said.

“There is now little doubt, if there ever was any, that there appears to be an agenda to undermine the authority of President Mugabe and to destabilize the country by using lies to fan ethnic tensions for political purposes. This must stop and do so sooner rather than later,” Mphoko said.

Zanu-PF is grappling with factionalism centering around Mugabe’s successor. Mnangagwa is accused of leading a faction eying the presidency while another group which has coalesced around Mphoko and Mugabe’s wife Grace is determined to block the perceived ambition.

Zimbabwe has had two vice presidents since 1988.

             

 

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