HARARE, ZIMABABWE - Zimbabwe's Vice President Kembo Mohadi resigned Monday after sexual misconduct allegations, a rare move by a public official in the southern African country.
Local news outlets have since late last month been awash with audio recordings of phone conversations allegedly of Mohadi soliciting sex from married women, including a subordinate in his office.
First published by online publication ZimLive, the lurid clips included one where a man can be heard scheduling to meet for sex at his office.
"I am stepping down as the vice president of the Republic of Zimbabwe ... with immediate effect," the 71-year-old leader said in a letter posted on the Information Ministry's Twitter account.
He said he was quitting "not as a matter of cowardice" but out of respect for his office "so that it is not compromised or caricatured by actions that are linked to my challenges as an individual."
"I have been going through a soul-searching pilgrimage and realized that I need the space to deal with my problems outside the governance chair," he said.
He repeated his denial of any wrongdoing, saying he was "a victim of information distortion, voice cloning, and sponsored spooking and political sabotage," adding he would seek legal redress.
Mohadi's resignation set off a buzz on social media with speculation fast shifting to who President Emmerson Mnangagwa would pick as his replacement.
Jacob Ngarivhume, an opposition politician and government critic, said he welcomed Mohadi's resignation and hoped it was the "first of many as more evidence of (ruling) Zanu-PF impropriety is released."
Mohadi, a retired soldier and veteran of the country's liberation war, was one of Zimbabwe's two vice presidents alongside Constantino Chiwenga.
He served in several ministerial positions under former president Robert Mugabe and was appointed vice president in 2017 following the longtime ruler's ouster.