Mnangagwa was the most prominent of two vice presidents and had been part of Mugabe's cabinet since independence in 1980. He is said to have enjoyed the support of military generals and war veterans; his critics view him as ruthless because he was in charge of state security when Mugabe unleashed a North Korean-trained brigade to crush dissent in western Zimbabwe in the 1980s.
The wife of Zimbabwe's 92-year-old President, Robert Mugabe, has said that he is so popular that if he died, he could run as a corpse in next year's election and still win votes. Grace Mugabe, 51, was addressing a rally of the governing Zanu-PF party. Mr Mugabe has governed Zimbabwe since the end of white-majority rule in 1980 following a bitterly fought war. His wife, who has often professed her undying loyalty to her husband, has assumed an increasingly high profile. "One day when God decides that Mugabe dies, we will have his corpse appear as a candidate on the ballot paper," Mrs Mugabe told the rally in Buhera, south-east of the capital Harare.
In the first anti-government protest in nearly a decade, supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) carried anti-Mugabe placards and sang party songs before party leader Morgan Tsvangirai gave a speech against the presidency. "Mugabe has no solution to the crisis," Tsvangirai told supporters gathered in Africa Unity Square wearing T-shirts in the party's red colours. "We are here to tell Mugabe and his regime that you have failed." Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, said police had initially threatened to ban Thursday's protest but were eventually ordered by the High Court to allow it to go ahead. "They are in their thousands, marching to the parliament saying they want President Robert Mugabe - who is 92 years old - to step down.