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Zimbabwe Set for Female VP, President


- AFP

(Monday, December 6, 2004)

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[ Joyce Mujuru, a longtime member of President Robert Mugabe's cabinet and a veteran of the 1970s guerrilla war against white minority rule, was elected late Saturday by ZANU-PF as the country's first woman vice president. ]


Zimbabwe's ruling party congress came to an end on Sunday after electing its first woman vice president while the country's controversial information minister appeared to be losing favour.

Joyce Mujuru, a longtime member of President Robert Mugabe's cabinet and a veteran of the 1970s guerrilla war against white minority rule, was elected late Saturday by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Her election means that Mugabe will now appoint her vice president of the country and make her a possible successor to the long-time ruler when he retires in 2008.

Meanwhile the Standard newspaper on Sunday speculated that Information Minister Jonathan Moyo had fallen out of favour with the ruling party after he failed to be elected to the party's central committee during elections held on Saturday. "ZANU-PF ditches Moyo," read the Standard's headline.

Moyo, a former government critic who switched to become an outspoken apologist for Mugabe's government, was last week reprimanded by Mugabe for holding an unsanctioned meeting of party and government officials that allegedly aimed to scupper Mujuru's nomination as vice president. On Saturday, Mugabe hit out at some of the officials who attended that meeting, saying: "They did wrong." "No party can ever succeed if amongst its members there are those who believe in secret dealings, in clandestine activities," he said.

This, the Standard suggested, was evidence that Moyo had blotted his copybook, even if he had not been expelled from the party. "We dare say he will be out very soon," the paper's editorial said. However, the highlight of the congress will be the election of a woman to high office for the first time in the country's 24 years of independence. And Mugabe hinted that Mujuru's rise may not end there.

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