from Africa in Transition

Health Watch: Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe

May 23, 2017

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe participates in a discussion at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 meeting in Durban, South Africa, May 4, 2017. Reuters/Rogan Ward
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Sub-Saharan Africa

Zimbabwe

Political Transitions

South African media is reporting that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, 93, has “worsening health problems.” Apparently, his wife Grace “is in a quandary: she has to deal with Mugabe’s health challenges and political issues as well… she is scared of a future without him.”

Mugabe is in Singapore yet again for a “checkup.” Unusual for a sub-Saharan chief of state, Mugabe’s spokesman has released a few details: “As a matter of fact, and let this be known to all Zimbabaweans – the physician of the president is not only Zimbabwean, he is actually black.” Spokesman George Charamba went on to say, “The President goes to Singapore for a very specific problem which has to do with the level of sophistication of medical skills that we have developed… It has to do with his eyes.” Charamba went on to say that Mugabe’s eye problem makes it look like he is asleep in public.

Mugabe has often been criticized for his medical trips to Singapore and not using Zimbabwean medical facilities.

It is widely expected that Mugabe’s death will set off a political crisis over his successor. Hence, the almost obsessive interest in his health. However, as South African media notes, on May 13 Mugabe attended a funeral and gave a short address. He “appeared strong and in good form.” He has already outlived all of his siblings; his mother is said to have lived to be 103 years of age.

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