HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe swore in two new vice presidents on Friday.
Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, was appointed as the senior of the two deputies during a televised ceremony. They replaced Joice Mujuru, who was fired earlier this week after she was booted from the ruling ZANU-PF party. Mugabe accused Mujuru and her allies, who were also fired, of plotting his assassination.
Mnangagwa kneeled before the 90-year-old Mugabe and his wife, Grace Mugabe, in a show of gratitude when his appointment was announced on Wednesday.
"He is the man Mugabe can trust, not just with securing his family's business but with maintaining a hardline stance as well," said Gabriel Shumba, a human rights advocate and political analyst.
A lawyer by profession, Mnangagwa will retain his position as head of the justice ministry. He and Mugabe became close allies when the two were arrested together during the struggle against white rule in the 1970s. Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980.
The two men fell out for a while when Mugabe accused Mnangagwa of plotting a coup and demoting him to a junior cabinet post in 2004. Mnangagwa's allies in the ZANU-PF party were also ousted in a purge similar to that suffered recently by Mujuru and her supporters.
The second vice president, Phelekezela Mphoko, was previously a diplomat.