HARARE, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe's vice president was a rebel commander during the war against white rulers and, at the age of 25, became the youngest Cabinet minister after independence. Now she is a political pariah, accused of plotting the downfall of President Robert Mugabe.
The rise and fall of Vice President Joice Mujuru follows a pattern repeated over the years under 90-year-old Mugabe, a shrewd operator who has ousted rivals and cracked down on opponents during his long rule, dodging repeated predictions of his political demise.
On Saturday, a ruling party congress is expected to announce new leadership that will reinforce Mugabe's grip on power and reveal his possible successor. A frontrunner is Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who suffered the same treatment as Mujuru a decade ago but is back in favor.