- Published: 22 May 2014
- Written by dailynews
President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace was captured on camera trying unsuccessfully to stop a cameraman from filming her 90-year-old husband as the First Family arrived at the Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore.
Footage released by British public broadcaster Channel 4 on Tuesday shows Mugabe and his wife entering Gleneagles Hospital along with a single male bodyguard, and two unidentified women.
The video shows Mugabe strolling unaided into the hospital looking curiously at the camera while his wife Grace, acts as a bodyguard with the aid of the male bodyguard.
She then moves to stop the filming of the world's second oldest president.
"Why are you taking photo? You can't take photo. No, no, no you shouldn't take photo. Please don't take photo, ah nhai imi," Grace protests at the cameraperson while appearing to confront him.
Then another female voice is heard in Shona saying, aiwa, aiwaka. (no, no). The cameraperson or journalist accompanying him retorts: "It's a public place."
While Grace was engaged in the confrontation with the journalists, a bewildered Mugabe, with his hands behind his back remained stone quiet. He is also seen in the video appearing to take a few steps backwards while Grace was busy chasing away the journalists.
The video has put into question, Mugabe's security when he travels outside the country as there was only one bodyguard who appeared in the video that Grace had to move in to shield the journalists as if she was a bodyguard.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for the past 34 years, had a cataract operation in Singapore on the eve of his 90th birthday in February, officials said, and his visits to the south-eastern Asian State have become more frequent over the last couple of years, stoking speculation over his health.
His spokesperson George Charamba, said last week that the veteran leader had flown to Singapore for "another routine eye check-up" and said he was expected to be back in Zimbabwe in a week. Charamba described the visit as a "private visit."
The Gleneagles Hospital was named one of the world's top 10 hospitals for medical tourists in 2013.
Mugabe's health remains a mystery and earlier this month Didymus Mutasa, a close confidant of the guerrilla war leader, indicated that the ruling party could criminalise discussion of both the 90-year-old strongman's health and the presidential succession while threatening the Daily News against writing the stories.
Notwithstanding his old age, Mugabe has refused to name a successor, leaving hawks in Zanu PF to tear each other in order to gain advantage over rivals.
The standoff with journalists at the Gleneagles is not the first time Mugabe's wife has had run-ins with journalists.
In 2009, she beat up a cameraman in Hong Kong.
British photographer, Richard Jones, claimed that Grace, 48, ordered a bodyguard to hold him down and then attacked him in Hong Kong's Kowloon peninsula.
"She directed several punches into my face," Jones said. "She was wearing diamond-encrusted rings, which caused a lot of lacerations."
But this time the First Lady was civil amid reports that violence is strictly prohibited in Singapore.
Last year, in an interview, Grace admitted beating the cameraman.
"I ran after him and I caught him. I started beating him. He was pleading with me to get the camera, please, I didn't answer so I kept on punching him. I did not listen to him and continued beating him up."