Frail Mugabe hosts mourners

A frail looking President Robert Mugabe yesterday received mourners at State House following the death of his sister, Bridget in the morning of the same day.

State television coverage showed Mugabe slumped in a sofa besides his rigid wife, Grace.

For most of the time, he was seated in a slanted position, apparently out of discomfort.

Mugabe appeared to be dozing at one stage, even though he has been on holiday for weeks, away from the hectic schedule at the office.

He has not spoken on the death of his sister so far, with a relative, Kaitano Mugabe, filling the role of family spokesperson.

Mugabe’s lack of energy at the memorial at State House is further stoking speculation around his reported ill health.

Unconfirmed reports have been flying of late, indicating that Mugabe is not feeling well. He recently returned from a holiday trip in Singapore, but there was no live coverage of the president, turning 90 in a month.

Traditionally, the State broadcaster, ZBC, films him when he leaves the country and on his return, but his recent return was accompanied by a file tape.

Baba Jukwa, an online whistleblower believed to be privy to secrets within Zanu (PF), the party Mugabe leads that formed a new government in September last year after disputed general elections, claimed the president was ill and had possibly died.

Bridget reportedly succumbed to cardiac arrest after spending more than three years in a coma in the intensive care unit at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare and will be buried at the family home in Zvimba, Mashonaland Central province, on Tuesday.

She mysteriously collapsed at the burial of her sister, Sabina, in 2010.

Mugabe has been reported to be suffering from prostate cancer and failing eyesight, but observers say there could be numerous other complications relating to his advanced age.

Among those that paid their condolences yesterday are Vice President Joice Mujuru, Minister of State in Mugabe’s office, Didymus Mutasa, Defence Minister Sekeramayi and the president’s cousin, Phillip Chiyangwa.

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