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Mugabe's wife positions herself as possible successor

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Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe greets supporters at a rally in Lupane,  north of Bulawayo (AP)

Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe greets supporters at a rally in Lupane, north of Bulawayo (AP)

Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe greets supporters at a rally in Lupane, north of Bulawayo (AP)

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's wife Grace has positioned herself as his possible successor by saying that one of the ruling ZANU-PF party's two vice presidents should be a woman.

Grace Mugabe, who once said the 93-year-old leader should run "as a corpse" in the 2018 elections if he dies before the vote, has injected extra intrigue into a succession debate which has exposed fighting within ZANU-PF and a wider sense of uncertainty in a country with debilitating economic problems.

State broadcaster ZBC quoted Mrs Mugabe as saying the ruling party should restore a rule stating that one of its two vice presidents, currently both men, should be a woman.

The president has traditionally picked his party vice presidents for the same positions in the government.