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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Congress Ends


Zimbabwe's ruling party, ZANU-PF, has ended its congress by announcing the members of its central committee.

It was almost business as usual at the end of the three-day gathering as the majority of the central committee members were retained.

Among those who were dropped from the party's leadership was Information Minister Jonathan Moyo who angered President Mugabe by convening a meeting not sanctioned by the party. Six provincial party heads who attended the meeting have already been suspended.

Mr. Moyo, a former critic of Mr. Mugabe and his party, became one of the most powerful government ministers when he joined the ruling party in 2000. He was appointed to parliament by President Mugabe and got the powerful post of information minister.

He is seen as the architect of Zimbabwe's draconian media laws that have seen the banning of three independent newspapers and the arrests of many journalists. The law also makes it an offense for journalists to work in Zimbabwe without registering with a government appointed media commission.

Mr. Moyo's exclusion from the central committee automatically bars him from being elected to the ruling party's supreme policymaking body, the politburo. Mr. Moyo can, however, keep his cabinet post without being a member of both bodies.

The meeting also endorsed the nomination of Joyce Mujuru as joint vice president. She is expected to be appointed the country's second vice president. It is alleged that Mr. Moyo's unsanctioned meeting was called to stop Mrs. Mujuru's appointment.

In his closing speech, President Mugabe hailed the unity in his party but warned there was no room for what he called political prostitutes in the organization.

He also attacked the British and American governments and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change whose leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was briefly detained by officials at Harare International airport on his return from a trip abroad Saturday.

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