Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has fired his vice president to potentially clear a path to power for his wife.
Simon Khaya Moyo, Zimbabwe's minister of information, announced Mugabe had removed Emmerson Mnangagwa from the position of vice president for failing to uphold his duties.
"It had become evident that his conduct in the discharge of his duties had become inconsistent with his official responsibilities," Moyo said. "The vice president has consistently and persistently exhibited traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability."
The decision came after Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe, called Mnangagwa the "root cause of factionalism" within the ruling Zanu-PF party and accused his supporters of booing her during a speech.
"What if I get in [as vice-president]? 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 said.
The first lady was granted diplomatic immunity to leave South Africa after fashion model Gabriella Engels accused Mugabe of beating her at a Johannesburg-area resort.
Mnangagwa had been viewed as Mugabe's likely successor, but fell out of favor with the president after claiming he was poisoned when he was taken to a hospital after a rally in August.
American Martha O'Donovan, who works for Magamba TV, a satirical comedy station, was arrested Friday after she allegedly called Mugabe a "sick and selfish man" on Twitter.