ZANU PF deny Mugabe is on his ‘deathbed’

ZANU PF officials have finally come out to publicly deny reports that Robert Mugabe was battling for his life at a hospital in Singapore. Over the weekend The Zimbabwe Mail website quoted an unnamed ZANU PF source saying the 88 year-old was on his “deathbed” and “undergoing intensive treatment in Singapore”.

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe

Information Minister Webster Shamu has however dismissed the report as “a lot of hogwash” adding that “this is not the first time we have heard these rumours. If anything like that had happened, we would have issued a statement.” Another unnamed ZANU PF politburo member said Mugabe would be back in Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

Mugabe left suddenly for Singapore on the 31st March. The official line was that he was going there to make study arrangements for his daughter Bona. When he failed to return on time, missing two consecutive Tuesday cabinet meetings and an important ZANU PF politburo meeting on Wednesday, speculation turned to his health.

The Zimbabwe Mail website for example reported that members of Mugabe’s family had been flown by private charter to go and be with him at his bedside in Singapore. Other messages posted on social networking sites suggested the hospital wing where he was being treated had been sealed off from the public.

On Monday Misheck Sibanda, the chief secretary to the Cabinet, was quoted as saying that Tuesday's Cabinet meeting had been moved to Thursday when Mugabe will be back. The truth in this case might be a casualty of the propaganda battles raging but for now ZANU PF seems confident their leader will be back in the country.

A ZANU PF politburo member, believed to be Jonathan Moyo, is quoted saying Mugabe was enjoying an Easter break with his family in Asia. "The President is on his Easter holidays, like everyone else. He returns to his post this week, at the same time as those who are asking about his whereabouts from their holiday hideouts."

Last year the 88 year old travelled to the Far East more than eight times and on each occasion his close aides and party issued flimsy excuses to cover up the reasons. The reluctance by those close to him to supply accurate information on his condition has tended to fuel the rumours and speculation about his health.

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told SW Radio Africa: “It is clear the health of the president is not okay. The intense speculation is a result of the opaque manner in which Mugabe and ZANU PF administer affairs of the state. It would not be an issue of people were told the President is not feeling well, after all he is 88.”

Ruhanya added: “But because these people are economic with the truth and very liberal with lies, they hide Mugabe’s sickness and because of this citizens are bound to look for information and hence these reports on the internet and elsewhere. In a democratic society this information should be made public.”

According to a leaked 2008 US diplomatic cable, central bank chief Gideon Gono told then-US ambassador James McGee that Mugabe had prostate cancer and had been advised by doctors he had less than five years to live. Gono also quotes the First Lady Grace, saying Mugabe was “out of it about 75 percent of the time.”

For all the speculation and denials from ZANU PF, it’s clear the 88 year old is receiving some form of treatment in Singapore, then he comes back into the country looking ‘energetic’ until the next relapse.

It’s also clear something ‘serious’ made him miss two cabinet meetings and another one for his party.

– SW Radio Africa News

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