Mugabe is not ill - Zanu-PF
Betha Madhomu, News24
Cape Town - Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF has dismissed claims that the country’s president Robert Mugabe is ill and is receiving treatment in Malaysia as unfounded.
A report in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Monday claimed that Mugabe was in hospital in Malaysia following a prostate operation.
In an interview with News24 on Wednesday, Zanu-PF’s spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the reports were based on speculation.
“That is speculation. There are people who wish the president dead and they think that’s a good way of damaging his excellency. The truth is that the president goes on leave every year. He goes to Malaysia every year for Christmas and New Year. So as far as we know, he is still there and we don’t know anything about the operation,” Gumbo said
Gumbo said Zanu-PF was not surprised to hear such reports as it was becoming a norm among foreign media to make such claims each time “the president goes on leave”.
“These reports keep recurring every year because there are some people who have a regime change agenda and therefore wish the president the worst. They wish him dead. What is surprising is that when they come here and see him they always say he looks healthy for his age but still go on to peddle such false reports about his health," said Gumbo.
Gumbo‘s reaction concurred with that of Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba, who is also reported to have denied the president was ill. He told the Zimbabwean newspaper Newsday that Mugabe was on "annual leave" in Malaysia and will return to Zimbabwe soon.
The Telegraph cited diplomatic sources as saying that Mugabe, 86, had undergone a “serious operation after his prostate flared up". It added that “within his Zanu-PF party, there is confidence he will return home within a week and recover fully”.
In other reports, however, a Malaysian foreign ministry spokesperson told the Malaysia newspaper that “there is no indication that Mugabe is here for an operation”.
Army 'on high alert'
Meanwhile, the Cape Times reported on Wednesday that the Zimbabwean army was on high alert on Tuesday “amid uncertainty over the health of Robert Mugabe”.
Quoting diplomatic sources, the newspaper alleged it was possible that Mugabe would be “severely incapacitated by the major operation and might never be able to function fully as president again”.
Rumours over Mugabe’s health have circulated over the years, but have never been confirmed.
Mugabe has in the past denied rumours over his health. In a meeting with Zimbabwean editors at State House, he was quoted as saying: “I don’t know how many times I die, but nobody has ever talked about my resurrection. I suppose they don’t want to, because it would mean they would mention my resurrection several times and that would be quite divine an achievement for an individual who is not divine.
“Jesus died once, and was resurrected only once, and poor President Mugabe several times. My time will come, but for now, no.”