Mugabe returns home from Far East trip

2018-01-05 14:33
FILE: Robert Mugabe in 2016. (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)

FILE: Robert Mugabe in 2016. (Jekesai Njikizana, AFP)

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Harare – Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has reportedly returned home after spending the Christmas and New Year holidays in the Far East, where he had gone for his regular medical check-ups.

According to NewsDay, the nonagenarian returned home on Thursday and was accompanied by his embattled nephew Patrick Zhuwao, who was in self-imposed exile.

Mugabe’s ex-spokesperson George Charamba couldn’t deny nor confirm Mugabe’s return.

"I don’t know if he is back, but he was expected back home today (Thursday). Whether he has returned or not, I would not know, since I am here at work. But as I said, he was expected to be back on January 4," Charamba was quoted as saying.

The report added, however, that it couldn’t independently verify the former president’s nephew's return after he went into self-imposed exile.

According to reports, Charamba indicated in December that Mugabe had visited Singapore for a medical check-up as "part of his package as a retired president to travel overseas", adding the new government was keen to show him respect.

The military stepped in on November 14 and ushered President Emmerson Mnangagwa into office after a power struggle with supporters of Mugabe's wife Grace, 52, who had emerged as his chosen successor.

Frail health 

Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe from independence in 1980, is accused of brutal repression and bringing the country to economic ruin.

He has been in increasingly frail health and has reportedly battled prostate cancer.

In recent years he has made several trips to Singapore, a popular medical tourism destination, for undisclosed medical reasons.

Mnangagwa was formerly one of Mugabe's closest allies, and the ruling Zanu-PF party remains in his control.

Mugabe missed the party's annual conference in Harare in December where Mnangagwa was installed as the ruling party’s candidate for elections next year.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  patrick zhuwao  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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