Mugabe's sister dies

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s only surviving sibling, Bridgette, died early yesterday surrounded by relatives at a Harare hospital.

Bridgette had suffered a series of breathing problems in recent weeks and died at Parirenyatwa Hospital, where she has been hospitalised in the Intensive Care Unit for the past three years, her family said in a statement.

After collapsing at the National Heroes Acre during the burial of her elder sister Sabina on August 10, 2010, she was rushed to Parirenyatwa in an ambulance and was accompanied by Phillip Chiyangwa and former deputy Health minister Edwin Muguti, a medical doctor.

Robert Zhuwawo, a family spokesperson and son to the late Sabina, yesterday confirmed the death.
“She passed on this morning (Sunday),” he told the Daily News.

“As a family, we are currently gathered here at the State House where we are deliberating on burial arrangements.

“We will have to hear from our uncles (the Mugabes) on the way forward.”

Prior to her death, she had in November undergone  a minor surgical procedure to “stabilise her breathing problems”.

Mugabe first broke the news of his sister’s deteriorating health in October last year, while addressing mourners at the burial of former Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange in Mariga V illage in Zvimba.

The  politburo was due to endorse her burial at the National Heroes Acre and were expected to be “unanimous in granting her that honour.”

Her death would be a severe blow to Mugabe, as he is a man known to have few friends and she was a most trusted family confidante and associate.

Bridgette was yesterday described as a mother, grandmother, sister and aunt who taught others by example and with passion what it means to live a faith-driven life of love and service to others.

Close family sources recalled memories of Bridgette as a young girl “with great humour, sharp wit, and a boundless passion to make a difference.”

As news of her death spread yesterday, Zimbabweans took to social media, and particularly Facebook and Twitter, to express their views.

In addition to sharing sadness and sympathy, many tweets paid tribute to the woman who was described as “reclusive, always gracious, kind and supportive in everything she said and did.”

One tribute said: “There was never a question as to what she believed, what she would do, what she expected others to do. She exemplified what you should be as a Christian. RIP Gogo, and to the President just put your hand in the Hand of God.”

Bridgette’s death comes at a time when rumours of Mugabe’s reported worsening health are swirling with tropical-storm force winds on news wires and fuelling infighting in Zanu PF.

There have been several similar stories like this for several years.

Diplomats in Harare are monitoring this very closely.

Mugabe, who has lasted longer than any other national leader except Queen Elizabeth II, is reportedly battling cataracts although secrets-spilling website Wikileaks claimed he was plagued with prostate cancer.

With speculation around Mugabe that he was  not feeling well, the president has the opportunity to put the rumours to bed now when he attends his sister’s funeral.

Since Mugabe arrived in the country on January 10 from his vacation in Singapore, the veteran leader has not made a public appearance.

He has undertaken several trips to the Far East, reportedly to seek medical attention for illness associated with old age.

Comments (19)

"....rumours of Mugabe's reported worsening health are swirling... Diplomats in Harare are monitoring this closely." Funny, isn't it? Why should diplomats monitor somebody's health closely as if they are his personal doctors? Thanx to our MDC friends like Douglas Mwonzora, who amended the Constitution, should anything happen to Bob we will still have a ZANU PF Govt until 2018. The MDCs should have resisted this particular constitutional change given Bob's age when they were drafting the new constitution. Our friends in MDC were too naïve and believed that the 2013 elections were just a formality and they would just walk into State House. Had the MDC being more strategic they should have anticipated Bob's retention of power. Well it's now all water under the Nikuv bridge!

Feldman Bandura - 20 January 2014


Mukanya - 20 January 2014

So one more and then they all finished?

Bosso - 20 January 2014

It looks like its now very difficult to get straightforward facts about anything in Zimbabwe. First, Zhuwawo is quoted as confirming yesterday Sunday that Bridgette had died “She passed on this morning (Sunday),” he told the Daily News. On the other hand, The Herald on Sunday 19th Jan 2014 in the story 'President's sister Bridget dies,' said: 'Bridget succumbed to heart failure at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals yesterday morning (Saturday) after spending more than three years on a life support unit. [...] she has been in the intensive care unit until her demise yesterday (Saturday).'. Which means she died on Saturday not Sunday. In another twist to the story a different 'family spokesperson' Mr Kaitano Mugabe told reporters at State House that Bridget would be buried at her rural home in Zvimba tomorrow' (Monday 20th Jan). But again that seems to have changed with the Politburo considering making her a national hero although she was not that known in politics save for reported 'dislike' for Grace. Lastly, Bridget's death seems to have solved the mystery surrounding her brother's whereabouts and health when the Herald report yesterday showed a picture of Mugabe sitting next to his wife while Mrs Joyce Mujuru sat alone on Mugabe's right hand side. Didymus Mutasa is shown paying condolences on one knee, yes on one knee next to Philip Chiyangwa. So Mugabe is alive after all but did not seem to be in good health from that picture. I saved the and story and picture on my computer in case someone challenges me.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri - 20 January 2014

Is this the same woman who devulged the affair of the banker and the graceful lady who comes first? Very telling times we live in indeed. I saw a video this morning on nehanda i think, which was taken of the family singing during the mourning been done at state house. Very telling i say, because we have never had that before. A video taken of the inner dwellings, of a very personal and emotional occassion. Mashura chaiwo. but then I started thinking, there are rumours of the demise of the 1st and Only Leader. What better way to quash them than to show him alive and well. I say alive andwell but infact, the man could hardly sit in his chair, he was not partaking of the same singing with the vigour that some man was showing, albeit lacking harmony. Alive, yes. Well, no. Something is wrong there.

OMuhle - 20 January 2014

Im sorry mudhara zvinowanikwa panyika zvino zvawasara wega unovigwa nani

kagamba - 20 January 2014

People always forget one thing. Mugabe still has a sibling - a half sister by the name of Dr Ntombana Regina Gata. Her full brother is that guy who died in a swimming pool -akwira Sally Francisca Hefron - Mugabe's late wife.

dick mboko - 20 January 2014

This is a minor event compared to the 20 000 unarmed old people, women and children butchered by Mugabe's Fifthe Brigade in Gukurahundi. We have no sympathy for this mass murderer.

Gombingo - 20 January 2014

People please lets stop wasting time with this nonsense called Baba Jukwa...he is a pathological liar who is playing a stupid guessing game...Mugabe is alive and well...we are tired of these silly rumours...God holds life and when a man's time is come God will beckon him on high...until then let us be prayerful concerning our nation...

happiness - 20 January 2014

@Clifford Chitupa Mashiri: She died on Sunday and there are no contradictions. The Herald issue you referred to is the Monday 20 January edition. As you know, there is no Herald on Sundays.

Ban'a - 20 January 2014

Let them die, they have had lavish life at the expense of the general populace. One more to go, it wont be long before then..

jacob - 20 January 2014

So the politibro is contemplating burrying this malawian at our national heroes acre, better they call it international Heroes Acre.., the even Mandela would also qualify to be bestowed wth that honour.

jacob - 20 January 2014

Let us be kind people.RIP vatete

Miriam Mugoni - 20 January 2014

bridget is not Mugabe's last surviving sibling

john moyo - 20 January 2014

Would mboko be able to substantiate his allegations outside hiding behind the internet. Whats wrong with being Malawian xenophobic idiot

enock sebele - 20 January 2014

Iyayi I am Malawian when Malawians started arriving in Zimbabwe Ndebele refugees had lived in the country for just under three decades. Malawians and Ndebeles are all mafikizolo only shona , their kalanga allies, tonga and other small ethnic groups really belong. By the way Dabengwa, JZ Ziyapapa,Silundika , Nkomo are all kalanga a shona dialect

Aliki Banda - 20 January 2014

i couldn't care less about the death of that b*tch

dfd - 21 January 2014

Hey u Banda from which book do you get that Kalanga is a shona dialect. The problem is that u can't separate what you think and what's a fact. To hell Banda go and vote! It's the reason why some people still believe Zimbabwe is theirs not for all. Go and preach that perfidy in Malawi and leave Ndebeles, Shonas and Kalangas to live with their identity. Kalanga is independent from Shona as Ndebele is Independent from Zulu or as English is independent from French!

Regalia - 21 January 2014!

lopi - 21 January 2014

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