SW Radio Africa (London)

4 July 2014

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Rumoured to Have Collapsed

Photo: Nehanda Radio
President Robert Mugabe

Speculation about President Robert Mugabe's health resurfaced this week with allegations that the 90 year old leader collapsed Wednesday, soon after his anti white rant while addressing rural farmers in Mhangura.

SW Radio Africa received an unconfirmed report on Friday, from a normally reliable source, who said Mugabe collapsed after he told a cheering crowd of land-grab beneficiaries in Mashonaland West that the remaining white farmers must go. It was reported that he was immediately rushed back to Harare for attention.

The report has been compounded by the fact that Mugabe has not been seen since and was also conspicuous by his absence at the late ZANU PF Politburo member Stanley Urayayi Sakupwanya's home, where senior party members trouped to pay their respects Thursday.

The Herald, which acts as a de facto state diary, showed defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi leading mourners at Sakupwanya's home where he announced that Mugabe had declared the late Politburo member, who died this week, a national hero. The normal routine on such occasions is for Mugabe and his wife Grace to lead the inner circle.

Confirming Mugabe's condition is impossible, particularly since Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa recently said the state will soon be criminalizing any form of discussion on his boss's health.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme said although it is not possible to get official confirmation on Mugabe's condition, his failure to appear at the Sakupwanyas family home lends credence to the rumors of his ill-health.

He said: 'Mugabe's non appearance should send some signals of credibility to the rumor of his collapse. Normally it is Mugabe who announces a hero status to the deceased's family but this time around it was Sekeramayi who did so.'

He added: 'With the kind of praises that Sakupwanya is getting there can be no other reason for Mugabe to be absenting himself from his funeral. This guy was close to the security sector which is the mainstay of Mugabe's hold on power and for him not to pay his respects to such a man shows that there is something wrong.'

Saungweme said the rumor of Mugabe's collapse will be further put to the test on Sunday when Sakupwanya will be buried at the National Heroes Acre. Mugabe has missed only a handful of state funerals and on all those occasions his excuse or reason would be publicised.

In May Mugabe failed to attend the burial of Brigadier-General John Zingoni at the national shrine as he was in Singapore where he was filmed entering a hospital said to specialize in treating cancer.

Rumors about Mugabe's health have gone on for some time but as he is advancing in age speculation has increased over the years. The situation has been made worse by his frequent visits to Singapore where as his aides routinely claim he is being treated for an unspecified eye problem.

Despite official denials it is widely believed that Mugabe is being treated for something else worse than an eye problem with some saying he is suffering from prostate cancer.

It could of course just be that he is 90 years old.

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