Zimbabwe’s Vice-President Joice Mujuru has rejected accusations of corruption and plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe as “unfounded” and “ridiculous”.
Mrs Mujuru was last week denounced by Mr Mugabe and has been removed from her post in the ruling party, Zanu-PF.
It was the culmination of a weeks-long campaign against her by state media and Mr Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who has since been appointed to a senior party post.
Mrs Mujuru, 59, was once seen as a possible successor to Mr Mugabe.
In her first response since being removed from her party post, Mrs Mujuru said she faced “ever-present” and “unlawful” threats against her person.
She said Zimbabwe’s state media “has continued to publish malicious untruths about me” and “numerous unfounded allegations [and] unsubstantiated statements, misconceptions [and] lies”.
Mrs Mujuru said “not a single iota of evidence” had been produced to support allegations that she was a traitor.
She said allegations that she had tried to remove Mr Mugabe from office were “ridiculous”.
Mr Mugabe, 90, has been in power since Zimbabwean independence in 1980.
Mrs Mujuru fought alongside him in the 1970s guerrilla war against white-minority rule and had been thought a possible successor as president.
But correspondents say her career ran into trouble when Mr Mugabe’s wife, Grace, entered politics earlier this year.
Mrs Mugabe has repeatedly accused the vice-president of plotting against her husband. Mr Mugabe told delegates at last week’s Zanu-PF party congress that he welcomed his wife’s action to expose the alleged treachery.
Grace Mugabe, 49, once her husband’s secretary, has recently been appointed leader of Zanu-PF’s women’s wing.
Speculation is building that she may seek to succeed Mr Mugabe herself.