President Robert Mugabe is back

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe returned home Sunday from his annual leave, ending a lingering mystery over his health condition.

Rumours began swelling about Mugabe’s health when the UK Telegraph reported that Mugabe had been rushed to Malaysia for prostrate surgery. But 86-year-old leader denied ever going to Kuala Lumpur saying he had flown to be with his daughter in Singapore where he was holidaying with his children.

Arriving at the Harare International Airport on Sunday morning, where he was welcomed to rancorous applause and dance by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir, Mugabe was quizzed and denied he had left the country to seek medical attention.

Asked to comment on speculation that he had undergone prostrate surgery, Mugabe said: “Those are naked lies, rhetoric talk that is expected from the Western sponsored media,” he said. “Ah ko ndozvavanotaura ka. I was not in Malaysia so those are the lies dzavanoita put across from year to year. It’s something we now expect each time I go out they also go and tell lies. We were just resting in Singapore and seeing my daughter. We have a daughter in Hong Kong.”

Zimbabwe Television showed a fit and jovial-looking Mugabe bounding down the steps of a plane at Harare International Airport closely followed by his wife, who was looking resplendent in a red outfit. He was received by Acting President Joice Mujuru, Information chief Wester Shamu and State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, service chiefs and several senior government officials.

The health of Mugabe, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, has been the subject of constant local and foreign media speculation over the past decade or so. Mugabe, who turns 87 on February 21, has dismissed talk that his health is failing.

Mugabe reiterated that there was no going back on an election, addding the GNU was not a permanent establishment. He said if there was no consensus as is the situation right now, he had the constitutional right to call an election at anytime. “Mind you I have the Constitutional right in the absence of any GPA position regarding the Constitutional process to cause an election to be held on the basis of the old Constitution. I have said so already. Vasingade havadi. I will have Parliament dissolved and go to election,” he said.

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