Mugabe returns, jets off to Ghana

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe returned home from Singapore yesterday morning — where he had gone for a medical check-up — but will have little time to either rest or knuckle down to business in his office as he is scheduled to fly out this morning, to attend Ghana’s independence celebrations.

Mugabe took medical leave last Tuesday, flying out to the Far East in what his office said then was for a “scheduled” check-up.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba told the Daily News yesterday that Mugabe had a “long standing invitation” to attend Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary.

“He came in this morning (yesterday), but because of the sheer importance of the event, he is leaving tomorrow morning (today).

“He got the invite in Addis Ababa at the AU (African Union) summit, whereupon the new president of Ghana intimated his wish that the president, who couldn’t make it for his inauguration because he was on holiday, be present,” he said.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai attended the 72-year-old Ghanaian president Nana Addo-Akufo’s inauguration in Accra on January 7.

Charamba said Ghana was significant for Zimbabwe and the rest of the continent for a number of reasons.

“Foremost, it is the first country to be independent under an enlightened revolutionary leadership. To be associated with that country is to endorse the Pan Africanism that animated Kwameh Nkrumah, its founding president.

“The president, apart from the marital aspect (the late Sally Mugabe was from Ghana), also worked in that country on the eve of its independence and then became the vector through which the spirit and influence of the Ghanaian revolution was brought to bear on the then Rhodesia’s nationalist politics,” he said.

Charamba also defended Mugabe’s trips abroad saying they were justified — while scorning the criticism that his boss had received for going to Singapore while medical doctors and nurses were embarking on a crippling strike at home.

“In the life of diplomacy, countries do spend. Diplomacy is not costless ... The strike has been dissolved, suggesting that he is running an effective system,” he said.

Mugabe recently celebrated his 93rd birthday in Matobo, where he appeared tired and jaded.

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.

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.

Although he appeared unhurt after the 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, to 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.

The nonagenarian has also had to endure sickening jokes and false reports about his alleged death — prompting him to put down these sadists at some point by saying that he had “died” many times more than Jesus Christ.

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