No sign of Mugabe: health doubts

tired_mugabePresident Robert Mugabe, 85, (pictured) has dropped out of sight, fuelling speculation that he is ill. Unconfirmed reports started doing the rounds in Harare at the weekend after Mugabe missed the two-day Cabinet retreat in Nyanga. His deputy, Joice Mujuru, stood in for him.

Mugabe uncharacteristically failed to visit the family of a dead struggle colleague, Richard Hove, who died aged 77 on Friday.

Instead, he sent a written message of condolence to the family of his long-time comrade. Hove was a member of the powerful Zanu-PF politburo.

Broadcasts on state radio and television referring to Mujuru as the acting president have further fueled speculation that Mugabe is unwell. Mujuru also had to announce the death of, and the conferring of hero status on, Hove .

Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa told reporters at the weekend that Mugabe was out of the country. He did not say where Mugabe had gone or reveal the purpose of his visit.

A well-placed insider said the only time the president left Zimbabwe quietly was on private visits more so when he travelled for health check-ups.

In the past few weeks, Mugabe has had a punishing schedule. He went to Libya, Malawi, Zambia and Namibia.

During the burial of Vice President Joseph Msika two weeks ago, Mugabe looked fatigued after walking up and down the stairway at the Heroes Acre shrine in Harare.

Mugabe will put paid to rumours of his failing health if he attends Hoves burial in the Heroes Acre today.

The Times (SA)

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