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Zimbabwe’s former vice president yesterday vowed to return home to “fight” for democracy as he revealed he had fled the country after being sacked and labelled a “traitor”. Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, left his government office on Monday, several hours before Robert Mugabe, 93, the president, dismissed him and accused him of being “deceitful” and “disloyal”. The ex-vice president, reported to be in either Mozambique or South Africa, released a five-page statement via his family in Harare in which he said he would return to Zimbabwe to campaign against Mr Mugabe in elections next year. “I will fight tooth and nail against those making a mockery of Zanu-PF founding principles, ethos and values,” he said. Mr Mugabe yesterday told thousands of supporters that Mr Mnangagwa was a “deviant,” adding that he the deposed official had told supporters the president would retire in March. “Upon realising that I wasn’t, he started to consult traditional healers on when I was going to die. At some point, he was told that he would die before me,” Mr Mugabe said. Emmerson Mnangagwa was labelled a 'traitor' by Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe Credit: AFP The move to sack Mr Mnangagwa clears a path to the presidency for Grace Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s first lady, who on Sunday labelled the ex-vice president a “traitor”. Mr Mnangagwa, who served the government for 37 years, was one of the first to launch armed attacks against white-minority Rhodesia and served 10 years in prison before going into exile in Mozambique. He then served at Mr Mugabe’s side as his personal assistant and bodyguard. Yesterday, the country’s War Veterans Association, which is loyal to Mr Mnangagwa, said it had expelled Mr Mugabe as its leader and formed a revolutionary council to take over Zanu-PF. Mr Mnangagwa addressed the president in his statement: “This party is not personal property for you and your wife to do as you please... I have been accused of treasonous acts dating from 1980. This is not only fake but laughable – the president knows this.” He said Zanu-PF had been “captured” by “minnows” and the “first family”, but said he had never previously criticised Mr Mugabe. He accused Mrs Mugabe of corruption, said the country was undeveloped and that he hoped to transform Zimbabwe according to the original values of Zanu-PF. “Let us bury our differences, and build a new and prosperous Zimbabwe, a country that is tolerant of divergent views, that respects opinion of others, that does not isolate itself from the rest of the world, because of one stubborn individual who believes he is entitled to rule this country until death,” Mr Mnangagwa said. Mrs Mugabe is expected to be appointed to fill Mr Mnangagwa’s position as deputy to her husband at a Zanu-PF special congress next month.