Much ado about nothing

HARARE - In our polarised society, political “battles” have manifested on every front.

The personal health of political leaders is one such front.

It is true that the health of politicians, especially that of the leader of a country, is a legitimate media pursuit.

President Mugabe’s regular visits to Singapore for treatment have been the subject of media speculation.

While official statements suggest he receives eye treatment, there is suspicion it could be for something worse.

Such conjecture feeds into the growing sentiment he is no longer fit to govern.

Two weeks ago, he was door-stepped by a cameraman while entering a Singapore hospital.

As he was filmed, Mugabe looked meek, standing in the background, as his combative wife, Grace, made protestations at the intrusive cameraman.

For some days, speculation had also mounted about MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s health after he failed to turn up for a rally.

His officials say he was advised by his doctors to take a rest.

State media hinted at something worse.

Then last week, Tsvangirai was reported to have sneaked out of the Trauma Centre and Hospital in Harare without settling his medical bill.

He is said to have left through the laundry section.

The State media’s graphics department went to work immediately, depicting the alleged route, caricaturing Tsvangirai in a patient’s gown, doing a runner. 

Tsvangirai’s officials say his departure was less dramatic than that: he used the VIP section.

Perhaps Tsvangirai missed a photo opportunity.

He could have posed for the waiting cameras for images that would reinforce, that unlike Mugabe, he has faith in the local health system.

Amid this polarisation, it is concerning, however, that key institutions supposed to be neutral play politics.

The Trauma Centre and Hospital was quick to report Tsvangirai to the police for “fleeing” the hospital without settling his bill.

It does not seem that this action was not motivated by concern the bill would never be settled or that the hospital would suffer any prejudice until payment was made.

The speed with which the hospital filed a report appears to fit into the whole political scheme to denigrate Tsvangirai at every opportunity.

As it turns out, the bill was paid less than an hour later and the charges withdrawn. But a story had already been manufactured.

It is obvious that, as part of this dramatisation, it is the hospital that gave access to the State media to photograph the alleged route Tsvangirai used.

Furthermore, a “source” went on to reveal that “we were treating him (Tsvangirai) for food poisoning”.

It is quite deplorable how some of our institutions that should maintain professional integrity collude with politics.

One such institution is the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) or its academics.

In an attempt to give legs to this dead story, the State media reported at the weekend that social and political commentators had criticised Tsvangirai for not having medical aid cover.

Among the commentators was UZ Department of Political Science chairperson Charity Manyeruke.

“If it is true that he does not have medical aid, then it is utterly shocking, but on the other hand it shows that he is finished as a leader,” she said.

“As a political leader, you are supposed to lead by example, but what he did by leaving the hospital without paying was tantamount to being a criminal…”

It is quite baffling that a whole chairperson of a university department would be drawn to comment on such trivia, let alone often spout biased political rhetoric

camouflaged as intellectual input.

Manyeruke raises an important issue, though, about exemplary leadership.

Perhaps she would care to offer her “intellectual” contribution here: who is leading by example — one who uses the local hospital or one who goes abroad for treatment, avoiding a health system he presides over?

Tsvangirai’s hospital story is much ado about nothing. There is no criminal or, perhaps even more appropriate, civil matter, arising.

Comments (7)

Daily News what a shame that you try by all means to defend Tsvangsanctions to the hilt whilst at the same time you deny that you are an extension ARM of the horrible and Clueless MDCTsvina.Never kid yourself by saying you are a neutral entity.Whether you like it or not Tsvangirayi is now History and FINITO to the wilderness of POLITICAL FAILURE who has been abandoned by his LEASH handlers and is broke like an EMPTY POCKET and is now MENTAL

mike muchapondwa - 3 June 2014

Mike Muchapondwa,would surely stoop so low as to denigrate an innocent man simply because you hate him?Why would you spill your obvious lies,shaming yourself like that.The DAILY NEWS is just a newspaper commenting or reporting what they see. Now,hate MT as you like but he remains steadfast & works even harder to free this country from the ZANU PF bondage. Zimbabweans will always stand by MT as he fights in their corner.Yes, NIKUV may offer their best technology to fake ZANU PF victory for cash but your people will continue to suffer as you know deep down in your heart.

MAKUDO MAPENZI - 3 June 2014

Conrad I didnt know were so stupid. When Mugabe goes to hospital you want to know the ailment but when it is Morgan he should be left alone. This is gutter journalism at its worst. You would do well to join the MDC-T information department.

godfrey gudo - 3 June 2014

We wait with baited breath to hear Godfrey Gudo's non-partisan views when our ailing nanogenarian leader next commandeers an Air Zimbabwe plane to go to Singapore for a "routine eye check-up" at huge expense to the country.

Musorodamba - 3 June 2014

I feel sorry for the students that have that Political Science chairperson as their tutor if she is one. What is she teaching them-Partisan Politics Science? When people take an interest in wanting to know what Mugabe is suffering from, they are asking each other why he chooses not to rest and enjoy his golden days. But when it comes to Tsvangirai who is still able bodied and fairly young, they are genuinely worried and understandably so.

Dr Know - 3 June 2014

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