Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has fired Emmerson Mnangagwa, the country’s vice-president.
Simon Moyo, the country’s minister of information, said Mnangagwa “exhibited traits of disloyalty”.
“Mr Mnangagwa’s conduct in discharge of his duties is inconsistent with the responsibilities,” Moyo was quoted to have said.
Grace, Mugabe’s wife, had reportedly asked her husband to sack his deputy earlier in the year.
“In 1980, this person called Mnangagwa wanted to stage a coup. He wanted to wrestle power from the president. He was conspiring with whites,” she was quoted to have said.
There is now the likelihood that she would could emerge as her husband’s successor as she is expected to be appointed Zimbabwean vice-president at a special congress of the ruling Zanu-PF party next month.
The head of the Zanu-PF women’s league, Grace and Mnangagwa were seen as the front-runners in the battle to succeed Mugabe.
Herald, the state-run newspaper, had quoted her as calling on the ruling party to expel Mnangagwa, saying: “the snake must be hit on the head”.
“We must deal with the real snake behind the factions and discord in the party. We are going for the congress as a united party,” she had also said while addressing a rally.
Mnangagwa was appointed vice-president in 2014, taking over from Joice Muguru — also sacked after Grace accused her of plotting to topple the president.