Zimbabwe: VP Chiwenga Stuck in India

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga on Friday failed to leave India, where he has been receiving treatment because of "security reasons" amid growing speculation about his health.

According to an Indian publication, Chiwenga's plane failed to take off at an airport in New Delhi after it developed a technical fault.

This was confirmed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa's spokesperson George Charamba in an interview with The Standard yesterday.

"The ambassador to India informed us that the VP would not travel due to security reasons, I am not sure if he left today," he said.

"But we expect him anytime soon. We expect a chubby VP, not the one [whose pictures] people have been circulating on social media. We expect a healthy-looking VP Chiwenga."

Chiwenga travelled to India with his wife Marry and Health deputy minister John Mangwiro two weeks ago.

Charamba said Chiwenga and his delegation -- travelling in a Boeing 737 with registration mark A6-RJX -- were expected to take off at 7pm at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Friday.

However, the trip was abandoned after the plane "developed a snag and then returned to the terminal at 7:45pm".

"It had lightning problems and it was decided that for security reasons, the VP should abort the trip," he said.

Chiwenga's health problems have been a subject of speculation, but sources said he went to New Delhi to consult an oesophageal surgeon after complaining that his throat was dry.

He is believed to have had difficulties eating and this was blamed for his dramatic weight loss.

Three weeks ago, Chiwenga was taken to South Africa for emergency medical attention after his health deteriorated.

In October last year, the VP also sought emergency treatment in South Africa and at the time the government said he was suffering from exhaustion and 1980s injuries from the war of liberation.

After the recent South Africa sojourn, Chiwenga appeared on national television saying he was fit.

Senior government officials have been criticised for seeking treatment abroad while failing to resuscitate local health facilities.

Former president Robert Mugabe made frequent medical visits to Singapore before he was toppled in a coup led by Chiwenga in 2017.

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