Mugabe seeks medical help

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday flew to Singapore for medical checkups — leaving his Zanu PF party still reeling from a shambolic and chaotic primary election.

After a week of high drama characterised by demonstrations against imposition of candidates and poorly-funded internal elections — starting mid yesterday amid glaring logistical shortcomings — Mugabe, 89, reportedly briefly chaired a government  meeting attended by only eight Zanu PF officials.

He then announced that he was leaving for Singapore.

George Charamba, the press secretary to the president, confirmed Mugabe’s departure for Singapore for a “routine eye check”.

“His Excellency the president, Cde R.G. Mugabe, today left Harare for Singapore,” Charamba said in a statement to the Daily News. “He will meet his optometrist for a scheduled routine eye check.

“The president is expected back in the country at the weekend.”

In Singapore, Mugabe enjoys the friendship of past and present leaders especially former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled the Southeast Asian country for 22 years before retiring in October 2008, plus guaranteed privacy on the tightly controlled former British colony.

Besides disrupting learning at schools countrywide and ongoing June exams, the Zanu PF primaries seriously disrupted government business, with one of the final sessions of Parliament boycotted by all Zanu PF legislators both in the Senate – which sat for only 10 minutes- and in the lower house which sat for only 30 minutes, with Zanu PF MPs conspicuously absent.

In the government meeting, only Joseph Made, Saviour Kasukuwere, Olivia Muchena, Didymus Mutasa, Walter Mzembi, Sydney Sekeramayi, Emerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Joice Mujuru pitched up.

But when Mugabe left the meeting after a few minutes, he walked out with four Zanu PF ministers, literally scuttling government business.

“Their attendance was as brief as a miniskirt,” said a Cabinet minister who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity.

“Government business was seriously disturbed. He (Mugabe) has abandoned leadership. The emperor has abandoned the palace.”

Mugabe has an open-ended authorisation to travel, but aims to be back at least by weekend.

His absence leaves Mujuru, 58 - a former girl guerrilla - in a prominent position of acting president amid speculation among Zimbabweans over who could replace Mugabe should he leave power. Mujuru is frequently touted as a possible successor to lead Zanu PF.

Mugabe’s trip to Singapore overshadowed the build-up to state elections where the Constitutional Court is today expected to rule on a legal challenge to a July 31 poll.

A prolonged absence could potentially postpone major policy decisions, such as mobilising funds for the polls after heavy pre-election state spending on a new Constitution.

Zimbabweans, who have been endlessly speculating about Mugabe’s health, were not sure what to make of the latest twist - debating whether it was normal eye treatment or a serious downturn.

On the streets, there was both solidarity and scepticism concerning Mugabe.

Though he has declared himself fit, Mugabe admits he is plagued by old age, and has increasingly appeared exhausted amid a gruelling presidential re-election bid which is taking its toll.

The normally garrulous and omnipresent leader has formally launched his campaign and sought to dispel doubts about his health, increasing his public appearances and announcing to his Central Committee  last month, he wakes up at 5am for exercise and was free to take on the tough election battle without physical restrictions.

Facing rivals in good physical condition, Mugabe has tried to maintain a frenetic, constant pace of activity that is physically demanding.

Charles Mangongera, a pro-democracy political analyst, said: “One does not have to be a physician to see that he is in bad shape physically. At his age, it is inconceivable that he can manage the rigorous demands of an election campaign. The chaos in his own party is likely to wear him down further and I do not see him managing a tight election campaign.”

The primaries held yesterday saw the use of sub-standard materials such as cardboard ballot boxes and ballot papers, leaving the election prone to serious abuse. Contesting members were asked to contribute to the purchase of bond paper.

The ballot papers were pieces of unevenly cut newsprint while the voter verification process involved merely looking at the ID card and confirmation of membership from the district chairman. There was no equipment to prevent multiple voting. Members of the commissariat acted as returning officers.

The Zanu PF National Elections Directorate was inundated with complaints of irregularities, which included vote buying, according to party sources.

    Comments (4)

    It is so funny how state controlled media is so quic to deny anything about the presidants sicknes as if he is a supernatural being... Well enough about politics, i am selling a car for a very fair price, check it on, its a 2006 lexus

    Zimbabwe Jobs - 27 June 2013

    It is so funny how state controlled media is so quic to deny anything about the presidants sicknes as if he is a supernatural being... Well enough about politics, i am selling a car for a very fair price, check it on, its a 2006 lexus <a href="">Zimbabwe Free Classifieds</a> <iframe src="" height="1" width="1" />

    Zimbabwe Jobs - 27 June 2013

    Inga zvakaoma, saka vakuru ava vava kutofunga kuti tavinga pa platform ino kuzotenga mota

    concerned - 1 July 2013

    well the so-called unholy alliance involving tswangirai and simba has all the ingredients of a shambolic coalition. ist and 4most, simba derailed morgan 4 presidency in 2008. 2ndly, welshman stood aside and backed simba. 1 would thnk in camaderie language tswangirai would in turn do a tit 4 a tit, but funny as it is, the drama seems 2 be more interesting as morgan is on record 4 accusing simba 2 be a zanu pf agent or worse still a cio operative. wozubone nanzi izinja zixhakelana madoda.

    Umsomi Olomnyathi - 4 July 2013

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