Zimbabwean talk about who will follow Mugabe gets murkier

Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa appears to have fallen from favor and is no longer viewed as a likely successor to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 93, deepening the mystery over who will take over from a man who has ruled since independence in 1980.

Mugabe has led attacks on his old friend, reflecting turmoil within the ruling ZANU-PF party and adding political uncertainty to the problem of a deteriorating economy that is increasing hardship for many Zimbabweans. The criticism of Mnangagwa, one of two vice presidents, comes ahead of Mugabe's re-election bid next year and amid a rise in prominence of Defense Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, whose name is popping up as a possible successor.

Zimbabwe's fractured opposition has been unable to channel national discontent into a strong play for power.