HARARE, Dec 4 — President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has confirmed reports that Vice-President Joice Mujuru and her allies were plotting to assassinate him in their bid to usurp power.

It had previously been reported that one of her close allies, Labour Minister Nicholas Goche travelled to Israel under the guise of government business to recruit an assassin to kill President Mugabe.

Another member of the Mujuru camp, suspended Zanu-PG party secretary for information Rugare Gumbo, was reported to have said that President Mugabe would be killed in the same manner as former Democratic Republic of Congo President Laurent Kabila, who was shot by a member of his security detail.

Addressing members of the Zanu PF Central Committee here Wednesday ahead of the opening of the 6th party national people’s conference on Thursday, President Mugabe said the assassination plot was conceived after the plotters’ numerous other plans to oust him had failed.

President Mugabe said the other plans which the group hatched previously included the use of witch doctors and apostolic faith healers. “When such ambitions fail then people start looking for other means to achieve their goals. ‘Let us get the President out of the way’, that is when they started to think they could even shoot me,” he said.

“When all is said and done we must be directed by our ideologies, our principles. Let us try to be content with where we are. You have the right to contest for seats even that for the President instead of trying to oust the President. To try and organize illegal ways of getting to power, that we shall not have, never.”

President Mugabe said instead of the factional fights the party should be focusing on the best ways to improve economic performance through implementation of the five year economic blueprint, ZimAsset.

“Things should not be like that. Once you do that you are dividing the party and this is what has happened.”’
President Mugabe described attempts by the Vice President to unseat him as foolish and such ambitions had led to Vice-President Mujuru thinking that it was now her time to succeed him as president.

“I go to elections, fight an election and I am expected to bow to my deputy and say ‘I have won the election. you take over’, that was one expectation; foolish and idiotic.”

President Mugabe urged party members to be content with positions they were given and stop machinations to occupy higher ones. Aspiring leaders should always bear in mind that Zimbabwe was born out of a bitter armed struggle which claimed the lives of countless, selfless Zimbabweans.

He said Zimbabwe could not afford to allow imperialist machinations of the West succeed as the Mujuru camp was planning. The Mujuru group, he said, had been promised “billions of dollars” by the British and Americans if they succeeded in overthrowing him.

Mujuru and Zanu-PF party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa were absent from the Central Committee meeting. In addition to plotting to remove President Mugabe from power, Mujuru had been implicated in a number of corruption scandals and had also been accused of illicitly dealing in diamonds, extorting shareholdings in private companies and fanning factionalism.