Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has relieved his vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa of his duty, the country’s information minister, Simon Khaya Moyo, announced.
According to newsmen, the move is expected to clear the way for the first lady, Grace Mugabe, to succeed him as president.
The first lady and Mnangagwa have been feuding for a while, and Moyo said the vice president was sacked for exhibiting disloyalty, disrespect and deceitfulness.
Elections are due in 2018, and visibly ill 93-year-old Mugabe is expected to step down.
While Mnangagwa, a former intelligence chief, had been expected to take over power, the first lady has been making moves lately to take over his job.
She had said at a party meeting on Saturday: “What if I get in? What’s wrong with that? Am I not in the party? If people know that I work hard and they want to work with me, what is wrong with that?”
She also accused Mnangagwa of being the “root cause of factionalism” in the party, Zanu-PF.
Mnangagwa had fallen ill at a rally and had to be airlifted to South Africa. He had claimed he was poisoned. Grace had also debunked claims that she poiaoned him.
Mnangagwa had been appointed vice president in 2014 after Joice Mujuru was sacked.
Mujuru had also been accused by Grace Mugabe of plotting to remove the president.