Mugabe's health info important

HARARE - Genuine concern is once again being expressed about President Robert Mugabe’s state of health, after he embarked on yet another visit to Singapore last week for a “routine” eye check-up.

Mugabe’s visit to the South-East Asian city state, is his third this year alone — all of them for the said “routine” eye check-ups.

Frankly, this belies logic.

This has been said before and I feel it is important to say it again: the state of health of the leader of our country is an issue of national importance.

This means that both the management of the president’s health and the communication of his health ought to strike the admittedly difficult balance of sensitivity and the appropriate degree of transparency — bearing in mind that Mugabe is not just a husband and a father, but also the country’s leader.

Let’s deal with the bugbear that irritates senior government and Zanu PF officials, and which appears to contribute to the unwillingness by authorities to be a little bit more open about the president’s real state of health — malicious rumours.

Without any doubt, continuing loose and unfounded gossip about Mugabe’s health is in very bad taste. It really is regrettable that this slew of unfortunate speculation around the president’s health continues to flare from time to time — to the obvious pain of his family and detriment of the country.

It is true that like most mortals, our long-ruling leader is neither a saint nor a universally-liked man.

Indeed, the mere mention of the name of the only man to have ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980 elicits mixed reaction.

On one hand, his followers adore him to bits and swear by his liberation credentials and deemed principles.

On the other, his many detractors only identify him with pain and misrule, and want him out of office.

Still, this is no reason why anyone, anywhere should wish him, or any other person under the sun, ill or dead. To do so is not just unacceptable, it is both uncouth and unconscionable.

I say this without any fear of contradiction for a newspaper that is often very critical of Mugabe and his party’s poor record in government.

And neither is this standpoint on the matter driven by expediency to curry favour with him and his cohorts, nor is it out of fear that not doing so would elicit the kind of malicious action against us that we suffered as a media house more than a decade ago when we were unjustly shut down by his government. No!

We do so out of a deep conviction that all life is sacred, irrespective of whether it is Mugabe, Barack Obama, Morgan Tsvangirai or some other lesser known mortal involved.

Back to the nub of piece, the fact that the state of health of the leader of our country is an important national issue, necessitates that government be as transparent as possible about his health, obviously balancing this against his rights as well as the interests of his family.

After all, the incontrovertible fact is that the First Citizen is now a mature 90, and at this age, it is a given that the elderly develop a number of health challenges — meaning that there is no good reason at all to try and run away from this reality.

The kind of responsible and useful information management about the president’s well-being that we are advocating here is, indeed, not rocket science.

It has been done successfully in other countries, including recently in South Africa, in the case of the late and founding leader of that country, Nelson Mandela.

Surely, such course of action and diligent information management around when Mugabe travels, to where, and when he is being attended to by medical doctors, for what, can only work in the best interests of the president, his family, the government and the country in the long run — without jeopardising his security and his privacy.

Of course, that necessarily means that government communicators must not hide behind “routine eye check-ups” as that in fact ends up feeding into the unnecessary speculation frenzy around Mugabe’s health, as people would want to understand why a “routine” check-up requires such long, demanding and expensive trips to East Asia several times a year.

But at the same time, the ministry of Information, at least now issues statements to all media houses on the President’s travels to Singapore but we need more.

Are Zanu PF and government heavies listening, and if they are, do they care enough about the President and this country?

Comments (26)

Having lost many relatives through Mugabe's Gukurahundi operation, I can only wish death upon him. I have the right to wish for what I want. He wished my relatives dead, and he got his wish through brutality. I only wish for his death from far away lands abd can not even hurt him, but I keep my wish alive...and very soon it will come true. Achafa chete muchida musingadi!

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repairs.. - 19 May 2014

wanyora zvinoratidza hunhu, humwari apa. hazvishamisi mdhara kutoviga muvengi.

Chidondova - 19 May 2014

Kufa rwuchafa chete. Apa ndipo pasina kana kutiza. waiting to pop the champaigne. If I am dead by then, my kids will pop it on my behalf. Rufu haruna unotiza. Ruchafa rugwaivhi ugu...and pretty soon. Tombofarawo semafariro aaiita aponda hama dzedu. Mhondi.

Track44 - 19 May 2014

Ini ndinoshuvira dai zvaitika ko tingagodirei kunyepa isu tichigozhegwa nevupenyu zuva nezuva dzedu hama dzopera kufa nekushaiwa mishonga yakakwana kuzvipata ana Musume neMunene iye achingozhavirira mari paziso rimwe dai rafa woita redzangaradzimu sezvo anemaviri .

MukarangawekuMberengwa - 19 May 2014

This is a very sober and humane analysis. May this spirit of Ubuntu continue to prevail in our troubled country. Again, well done hanzvadzi.

Mercy - 19 May 2014

Mugabe is surrounded by powerful men like Mutasa, Sekeramai, Made, Chinamasa et al (the diesel team) who strongly believe in witchcraft and therefore feel that revealing health status of the president is taboo.

Lexi Cato - 20 May 2014

Those who support Mugabe should wish him well. Those who believe have been wronged by Mugabe should forgive him and also wish him well. God desires that we forgive and love one another.

machakachaka - 20 May 2014

Sorry Stanley , you can water it down as much as you like, but the majority of Zimbabwean people only want one thing to happen to Mugabe and that is that he vacates the departure lounge of life and boards the flight to hell. The sooner the better.

ronaldos - 20 May 2014

Why does the eye specialist that he sees not come to Zimbabwe?? Surely that would be a cheaper and more private option??

Concerned - 20 May 2014

Even more to the point, why does he not use the eye specialists in Zimbabwe in the first place ??? What an insult that Mugabe has no confidence or respect for them and it's not that they are all white, so he cant use that as an excuse.

ronaldos - 20 May 2014

hoooo i can see the pain zimbabweans are going thru.Our almighty i beg you to rescue the country of zimbabwe,,,,,,

basopo - 20 May 2014

ko baba Jukwa vacho vakanzi vakabatwa varikungonyora pafacebook page yavo nanhasi? vakabatwa here?

watondah - 20 May 2014

Hide the truth & fuel rummer mongering.There is just no transparency in the president's health. And pple rightly hate the president's countless trips to East Asia for the same routine eye check up when Zimbabwe has its own able eye specialists. No,you can't run away from old age. NEVERTHELESS,WE WISH OUR PRESIDENT THE BEST.

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ORIGINAL - 20 May 2014

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ORIGINAL - 20 May 2014

Hama dzangu dai tadzidza kusashuvira rufu kumunhu kunyangwe vakatitadzirasei zvake. Yes this man has proved beyond any doubt that he has failed the test of good leadership, but wishing him dead is not right. If we see ourselves as good, we should wish those who have done us wrong to live longer so as to see the good things that we have for the future. I can assure you this man's visits have nothing to do with his ill health. He has swollen bank accounts out there to sort imi muchiti arwarisa.

Nyashanu - 20 May 2014

Kutonga ndekwamwari.

felix - 20 May 2014

I canot be surprised that Mugabe has fat bank accounts out there,hence his several trips. Hypocricy is the game of hard hearted dictators.Time will tell although we may wish our president well at his every outing.

HEZVOKO - 20 May 2014

hoooo i can see the pain zimbabweans are going thru.Our almighty i beg you to rescue the country of zimbabwe,,,,,,

basopo - 20 May 2014

Isu tiri vanhu saka kunyangwe munhu akave akakutadzira usatsiva kutsiva ndokwashe,panyaya yekutonga mwari ndivo vanogadza uye kubvisa kana nguva yakwana yekuti mwari vaunze mumwe mutongi tinogona kushamwiswa tapiwa munhu wekuti hapana kana anenge achizvifungira saka hama munashe regai kutonga kuti netigoregawo kutongwa,hapana munhu akazvarwa achinzi mutongi wevanhu asi ishe ndivo vanoisa vanhu pazvinzvimbo.Vatungamiri vanofanirwa kuti vakumbirirwe kuti mwari avape njere pakutonga vanhu vake tarirai nyaya yaSolomon akumbira njere kwete pfuma kuti agone kutamba nyaya dzavanhu vamwari zvino kana vanotonga vakasakumbira rinova dambodziko.Mwari vakomborerer nyika yekwedu Zimbabwe nevanhu vayo vose rugare ruve nemi mose.

Zimuto - 20 May 2014

He can go as far as he wants to go for those checkups but death is inevitable. even him, he knows the least he couldn't think of doing is having a plastic surgery

kt - 20 May 2014

Guys really, its not Mugabe who's sick, its Grace. Watch for yourself

Lloyd - 21 May 2014

we may right about death of him but don"t forget we all one day die. please live this old man alone leadership qlties anawo. I CAN SEE DANGER AFTER HIM. Zimbabwe with Mugabe is better than after. No president can be good to all. Majority wish him what, murume unodiwa uyu pindayi munyika muone. Kwete kufamba mustreet yako neshamwari dzako wobva wati majority. I TRAVEL DAILLY IN RURAL AREAS NYIKA YAKAKURA.

tibvu - 21 May 2014

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