Zimbabwe ruling party seals Mugabe's exit

File Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe visited a Singapore hospital for medical checks

Mnangagwa, whose sacking as vice-president set off the chain of events that led to Mugabe's removal, said the ZANU-PF congress should define a new trajectory - which he did not spell out - and put behind it the victimization of members seen in the past.

I greet you, I am proud to be your comrade and that you are my comrades, said the leader of the Zimbabwe National African Uniont-Patriotic Front party, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who assumed the presidency of that country on November 24 to replace Mugabe.

In an open space that Zimbabwe's ruling party has called Robert Mugabe Square, delegates gathered on Friday to seal the fate of a man they had revered for decades but removed from power in dramatic scenes last month. Mnangagwa was inaugurated as the country's new president last month, with the immediate challenge of reviving a shattered economy and removing himself from his longtime mentor's shadow. The 93-year-old had been the world's oldest head of state. Images of his face are conspicuously missing, is as Mugabe himself. He flew to Malaysia and Singapore earlier this week to visit family and seek medical treatment in his first overseas trip since last month's events.

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The worldwide community will be closely watching the next elections, due by the end of July, following last month's de facto military coup which ended Robert Mugabe's 37-year reign. Marbel Chinomona replaces Dr Grace Mugabe as the Secretary for Women Affairs, while Pupurai Togarepi returns as Secretary for Youth Affairs.

"Democracy bids that as a political party, ZANU-PF must always compete for office through pitting itself against opposition parties in elections which must be credible, free, fair and transparent", he told about 6,000 party members.

The opposition, shut out of Mnangagwa's Cabinet in favor of military and ruling party members, has joined the United States and others in the global community in urging Zimbabwe's new government to make sure the elections are democratic.

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