Many Zimbabweans have been left to speculate why 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe had to make a hasty trip to Dubai on Tuesday, barely three hours after he landed in Zimbabwe from Swaziland, according to News Day.
Last week, Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba cast further doubt on the purpose of the President’s abrupt trip to the Middle East after he mockingly declined to disclose details of the trip, accusing the media and the opposition of continuously suggesting that the veteran head of state is ill.
I will not give you the purpose of the President’s visit to run away from the default explanation. This is not new. It is year in, year out: he is sick, he dies and resurrects. His life until the age of 92 revolves around illness and death, Mr. Charamba said.
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Sources told News Day that President Mugabe travelled to Dubai to pick up his family, after which he will head to Singapore where he has always frequented for medical treatment.
However, other sources claim the elderly president had scheduled a private business trip to Dubai, which coincided with his trips to Kenya on Saturday and Swaziland on Monday.
The Zimbabwean President was among the heads of states present at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) summit in Nairobi, Kenya last weekend.
He then proceeded to Swaziland on Monday for the 36th South African Development Community (SADC) conference.
Mugabe’s frequent trips to Asia for medical attention have often left his supporters and the opposition speculating about his state of health.
“Each time you people don’t know the purpose of the president’s visit, there is always a default explanation that he is ill,” the President’s spokesperson Mr. Charamba lamented.
Some Zimbabwean opposition leaders have criticized Mugabe’s regular medical trips out of the country saying he has run down the country’s health system since he has the privilege of getting quality medical care abroad.
“In as much as we sympathize with Mugabe over his health problems, we urge him to search his soul and conscience, so that he sees that in his current physical shape and going towards 93, it is not good to cling onto power,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
President Robert Mugabe has been serving as Zimbabwe’s head of state since December 1987 and he has announced his plan to run for re-election in the coming poll in 2018.
He is currently facing great resistance from opposition supporters who are calling for his retirement.