Zimbabwe's information minister has announced the dismissal of Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice president for showing "traits of disloyalty".
The 93-year-old president and his wife have in recent months accused Mnangagwa of plotting to oust Zimbabwe's leader, who has been in power since independence from white minority rule in 1980.
It also provides a boost for Mugabe's wife, Grace, who has been a vocal critic of the vice president and is also seen as a potential successor to her husband.
"Mr Mnangagwa's conduct in discharge of his duties is inconsistent with the responsibilities", Information Minister Simon Moyo said.
The incident triggered calls for Mnangagwa's ouster from both ZANU PF and the government.
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But the pair are thought to have recently fallen out, with Mr Mugabe publicly rebuking him at a rally over the weekend.
Reacting to Monday's development, ZANU-PF's youth league said Grace Mugabe should replace Mnangagwa.
"We are going for the congress as a united party". Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was removed from office "with immediate effect".
Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's main rival, has been in and out of a South African hospital after revealing that he had colon cancer in 2016.
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