According to media reports, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is fighting for his life in a hospital in Singapore. His illness remains undisclosed, but in a document released by WikiLeaks last month, it was claimed that in 2008 Mugabe’s doctor urged him to step down because he was suffering from prostate cancer which had spread to other organs.
A senior official of his ZANU-PF party has apparently confirmed the President was admitted for intensive treatment in a Singpore hospital, and has been joined by family members who flew over in a private jet on Saturday night. Mugabe was on a visit to Singapore under the auspices of being there to help his daugher Bona enrol at the local University for a post-grad course.
The media first realised there was something amiss when a cabinet meeting was postponed with the following statement from Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba: “The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, wishes to inform all members of cabinet that sitting has been moved from Tuesday, April 10, to Thursday, April 12, 2012.”
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Mugabe has agreed to hand over power to his controversial Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa (65) who has been accused of being responsible for a number of reprehensible crimes and killings.
Just yesterday, April 8, Mugabe sent a message of condolence to the people of Malawi after the death of their President, Bingu wa Mutharika, saying “Africa will miss its great son”.
Update (10th April, 2012):
Zimbabwean government sources have denied that Mugabe has been taken ill in Singapore, and claim he will be back in the country by Wednesday.
Webster Shamu, Information Minister, has said the reports are “a lot of hogwash”. He said “This is not the first time we have heard these rumours. If anything like that had happened, we would have issued a statement.”
The government sources claim that the stories of Mugabe’s illness are “complete fabrication” and “the President is on his Easter holidays, like everyone else”, according to Misheck Sibanda, chief secretary to the Cabinet. He said Mugabe “returns to his post this week, at the same time as those who are asking about his whereabouts from their holiday hideouts.”
Rumours about the state of Mr Mugabe’s health are regular, and he himself joked at his 88th birthday party that he has “died many times. That’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once. I don’t know how many times I will die and resurrect.”
Update (13th April, 2012):
President Mugabe has returned to Zimbabwe. He didn’t arrive on Wednesday as promised…but he did step off the plane in Harare a day later and was able to chair a cabinet meeting a few hours later.
He didn’t address the state media like he usually does when he returns from trips abroad. And although his state radio bulletins reported that he ‘ran’ off the plane, the TV footage seems to suggest he was aided at all times (bar three metres) by his wife Grace and his Vice-President Mujuru.