Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has revealed that he suffered a serious illness during last November's coup, denying charges of skin bleaching by the likes of former higher education minister Professor Jonathan Moyo.
Chiwenga opened up on the social media speculation Tuesday during the burial of his sister Margaret Machekabuwe.
The exiled Moyo - bitter critic of the former defence forces chief - had mocked Chiwenga over the change in his complexion since the military revolt which ousted former president Robert Mugabe last year.
Commenting on twitter, Moyo said the lightening of Chiwenga's skin was "intriguing", adding that the "bleachy (VP) was making at least two life-threatening emergency visits to a week to Harare's Trauma Centre".
Noting that there was "Trouble in the Coup Government", Moyo claimed co-VP Kembo Mohadi was hospitalised in South Africa while president Emmerson Mnangagwa - also allegedly poisoned ahead of the coup - had told the "Chinese he won't see signed projects take-off as he fears for his life and future".
Chiwenga confirmed he has been struggling with his health Tuesday while dismissing the skin bleaching allegations.
"Today we want to set the record straight on one issue now that journalists are here," the VP told mourners at his sister's burial.
"When we did our operation to normalise things in the country, I was with (new defence force chief) General (Philip Valerio) Sibanda and many others, they are brave men indeed.
"We also informed vaMatanga (then Deputy Commissioner-General of Police) about the plan
"It was during that time that I fell ill. I had this skin sickness (nhuta) that affected my whole body from beneath my feet to my back and the journalists started saying I was using skin lightening creams, but that was not the case. I was sick."
He added, "I have decided to talk about it because that is what you see, but you should know that everything that happens comes with a price," he said.
"We then sent everything to South Africa to find out what was causing the sickness, but they failed to treat it.
"It was then that my (late) sister Margaret approached Sister Redemptor (Roman Catholic nun) and was given herbs that I began taking until I was healed. But before I took the medication they also prayed for me.
"This is what had affected me and had also affected my wife."