Rumours swirl over Mugabe’s health

Staff Writer

REPORTS are rife that President Robert Mugabe and Vice-President Simon Muzenda’s deteriorating health could cause a leadership crisis in the country sooner than expected.


<
P>Reports from South Africa’s News 24 this week said Mugabe would undergo urgent medical treatment for a urological ailment in Iran after his visit to Cuba.


The news agency said his urologist would accompany him to the Middle East for treatment. The reports had not been confirmed by Zimbabwean officials by yesterday afternoon.


Mugabe, attending the United Nations conference on desertification in Cuba, was previously treated for the same complaint in Malaysia, the agency claims.


News 24 also said Muzenda has been placed on life support machines.

A medical official at the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals where Muzenda is receiving treatment, yesterday said the vice-president had been moved from ward D2 to ward B6, the Coronary Care Unit.


“The vice-president is in a coma and he is suffering from hypertension and advanced prostate cancer,” said the official.


Patients have been cleared from the ward to accommodate Muzenda and his aides who include members of the Central Intelligence Organisation.


Meanwhile, factions in the ruling Zanu PF party are locked in a fierce struggle to put forward their candidates for Muzenda’s post.


Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa and Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi are regarded as the most likely candidates for the post of vice president.


Last week the politburo indicated that it would convene soon to discuss Mugabe’s successor for the first time since Independence.


Joseph Msika, the other vice president, is not considered a possible successor to Mugabe. Zanu PF chair John Nkomo is instead tipped to replace Msika during the party’s conference in December where a new leadership will be elected. The meeting is expected to give a clear direction of Mugabe’s future and the succession issue.

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