Mugabe takes medical leave

HARARE - Fresh from celebrating his 93rd birthday in Matobo with thousands of Zanu PF supporters last weekend, President Robert Mugabe flew out to Singapore in the wee hours of yesterday for what his office said was for a “scheduled” health check-up.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, while refreshingly forthcoming about Mugabe’s Far East medical time-out yesterday — where previously all matters related to the president’s health were ill-advisedly dealt with as a major State secret — also told the Daily News that it was expected that Zimbabwe’s long-ruling leader would be back in the country early next week.

“His Excellency left this morning for Singapore for a scheduled medical check-up. We expect him back in the country early next week,” he said.

While Charamba did not reveal any further details about the nature and extent of the medical examination which Mugabe would undergo, the nonagenarian has in recent years been making regular visits to Singapore — amid wild speculation about his state of health in the absence of official information about his fitness levels.

Mugabe also visited his Far East doctors over the festive season for what was also described at the time as routine check-ups. It was not immediately clear whether this latest trip was a follow-up to that December visit, or an appointment for different reasons.

The only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country gained its independence from the British in April 1980, Mugabe is also the world’s oldest leader. He appeared very tired and jaded during his birthday celebrations last weekend.

While still very sharp mentally, especially for his age, Mugabe also struggled with his speech during his annual televised birthday interview with the ZBC two weeks ago, in which he frequently paused for breath in between his answers.

Mugabe’s health has over the past 10 years or so become a major discussion topic both at home and abroad — with this fascination with him reaching a crescendo over the past few years following some public mishaps, including his tumble at Harare International Airport in February 2015 as he walked off a podium.

This happened after the nonagenarian had just finished addressing his supporters after returning from Ethiopia where he had gone to take over the rotating chairmanship of the African Union.

Although he appeared unhurt after the nasty fall, the incident — which occurred in full view of gathered bigwigs, Zanu PF rank and file members and journalists — triggered panic among senior government officials and security chiefs, who all scrambled to help him get on his feet and ensure that he was alright.

Mugabe also later stumbled in New Delhi, at an India-Africa summit, and had to use a wheelchair at the 60th Asian-African Conference Commemoration that was held in Indonesia.

Offensively, the nonagenarian has also had to endure sickening jokes and false reports about his alleged death — prompting him to put down these sadists saying he had “died” many times more than Jesus Christ.

“I have died many times. That’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once. I am as fit as a fiddle. At this age, I can still go some distance, can’t I?

“There are things one must do for oneself. Don’t drink at all, don’t smoke, you must exercise and eat vegetables and fruit,” he said in an interview with the ZBC, ahead of his 88th birthday in 2012.

Despite his advanced age and deteriorating health, as well as the growing pressure within his ruling Zanu PF for him to step down, Mugabe has thus far not dropped any hint of his retirement plans — moving recently to shut the door on his lieutenants in his fractured party who are angling to succeed him.

Reacting to Mugabe’s Singapore trip yesterday, the spokesperson of the country’s main opposition party, the MDC — Obert Gutu — said it was time the nonagenarian retired.

“Mugabe now belongs to an old people’s home and certainly not behind the levers of State power at State House. Some of us actually felt pity for him as he was frothing profusely whilst delivering his 73 minute-long speech at Matobo last Saturday.

“Why are these people (Zanu PF bigwigs) abusing the old man? This is wrong, immoral and evil. The old man should be allowed to rest as he has had his time,” he said.

A fortnight ago, powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe stunned the nation when she said her husband could even rule the country from the grave.

Comments (5)

Anonotsvakeyi kuSingapore chaashaya muZimbabwe ? Zvipatara hobo. Madhokotera jawi zvekupfachukira kunedzimwe nyika. Unondotsvakeiko kunyika yaunondorapwa uchingodzoka uri mugwere seavo vanoenda kuUSA kundotsvaka mari vachizongodzoka vari varombo. gadzirisa nyika yako mudhara ufire munyika yaunoti ndeyako. Ungabva waita zvasekuru vako Kamuzu zvekundofira munyika yaitongwa nemabhunu. Hapana kubvuma kukoniwa kungadarika zvauri kutitaridza. Chasara kusiyana naMugadza. Munomunetsereiko munhu akataura zvaakapiwa kuhope ? Ndiani akambonzi anorarama nokusingaperi ?

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 2 March 2017

We saw it coming standing long hours in Matobo talking nothing in a bid to show the world that he was still strong was going to back fire . Vhuma kuchembera wawunyana wasakara period . You are finished baba kkkkkkkkkk yaaa . Go home and have a rest hamba pumuzika . .

Diibulaanyika - 3 March 2017

Comrade Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe's strongman) is often referred to as Africa's most intelligent person. He is a lion and will live to be at least a 100 - just like his countryman Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi who made it to 101 tears

nelson moyo - 3 March 2017

No shame that after 37yrs running down the health care delivery system in the country he has to fly all the way to Singapore to enjoy the benefits of the vision and competent management of the Singapore government and her people.

Galore - 3 March 2017

Only idiots run away from their homes to seek comfort in a neighbour's house when their roof is leaking. Intelligent people repair the roof to their house (this is called pride) and they don't run away (cowardice) and most importantly, they surround themselves with intelligent advisors not wimps and moronic praise-singers these sre worth nothing when real problems arise. If a fall can send security into a panic can you imagine what will happen if DEATH occurs?

Sagitarr - 3 March 2017

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