Senior officials who spoke before Mugabe and his wife aimed jibes at Mnangagwa, describing him a “border jumper.”
An ally of fired Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chris Mutsvangwa, speaking to reporters in Johannesburg, described Mugabe as a “dictator” hoping to cling to power until his death and his wife as a “mad woman.”
“They want to seize power ahead of the election,” knowing they have lost popularity, Mutsvangwa said. Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, is already running for next year’s election.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa and his allies remained defiant Wednesday with war veterans’ leader Chris Mutsvangwa said the former VP was safe and due to travel to South Africa.
Mutsvangwa ruled out trying to remove Mugabe by force and said war veterans, who had publicly backed Mnangagwa and broke ranks with the president last year, would form a broad front with the opposition in elections next year.
“We don’t want to abuse the military to resolve a political problem. We don’t want them to become the arbiter of political power,” Mutsvangwa said.