VICE PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga says he was thankful President Emmerson Mnangagwa flew him for advanced treatment in China, during a period ordinary Zimbabweans were dying in poorly equipped hospitals which have gone for months without doctors.
Chiwenga was speaking to State media hours after he returned home after spending 123 days in a Chinese hospital receiving treatment.
The former military commander who staged a 2017 military coup that installed Mnangagwa as President, thanked the Zimbabwean incumbent.
"And I want to thank personally my President, His Excellency President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, if he had not intervened the time I was in the intensive care in South Africa, I could have been history by now, and when he communicated with his counterpart President Xi Jinping, I was then taken to China . . . he did not act as the President but acted as my brother to make sure that I survive . . .
"And I would also want, before I go far, to thank the people of Zimbabwe for their prayers; those prayers from across the country helped my recovery."
Chiwenga, who according to President Mnangagwa, left the country suffering "memory lapses, speech impairment and excruciating pain", said he was feeling stronger.
"Up to yesterday (Friday), from the time I left, I had spent 123 days in hospital. When I got there it was the 21st of July and got my discharge certificate later on after 123 days.
"I feel strong and I am raring to go for work . . . everything possible was done; they left no stone unturned . . . so I am very fit and happy."
However, Chiwenga's celebrations for recovering in a foreign hospital would likely leave a sour taste in the mouths of ordinary Zimbabweans who have endured nearly three months without doctors manning public hospitals.
Hundreds of doctors embarked on a strike action for improved wages, something that has elicited a drastic government decision to fire over 400 of them for refusing orders to return to work.
The job action has crippled service delivery in the country and spotlighted on Mnangagwa's commitment to pull the country out of its prolonged economic mess.