FORMER President Robert Mugabe was expected to leave the country last night to the Far East for routine medical check-up.
Well-placed sources within government told NewsDay that Mugabe would leave on board an Air Zimbabwe UM1 flight to the Far East, where he will end up in Malaysia and Singapore.
Mugabe will make a stopover in Malaysia, where his daughter Bona is expecting a second child, before leaving for Singapore for his routine medical check-up. Sources revealed that the UM1 yesterday had a scheduled 20- hour flight.
The 93-year-old ex-leader’s former aide and now Mnangagwa’s spokesperson and Information ministry permanent secretary, George Charamba, could not give details, saying he was not in touch with Mugabe anymore.
“I am no longer in touch with the retired President,” Charamba said.
“I don’t really know who will help you and I don’t know the structure which is servicing him. Don’t you know that I was reappointed permanent secretary of Information and I haven’t been in touch with him [Mugabe]?”
This is Mugabe’s first flight out of the country since his ouster as President last month by his former deputy, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, with the help of the army under a manoeuvre codenamed “Operation Restore Legacy” after a fallout that saw the latter being fired from both government and Zanu PF.
Mugabe is leaving the country at a time his former Zanu PF party is meeting for a special congress to endorse his ouster and Mnangagwa as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 general elections.
He hasn’t also been seen in public following his exit.
He was expected to be accompanied by his family and aides, but NewsDay could not establish some of the people who will be in his entourage. However, NewsDay is reliably informed he will be in the company of some government officials as part of his entourage.
Before his ouster, Mugabe often spent his December annual leave holidaying in the Far East where he also took the opportunity to have routine medical check-ups as he continued to have complications associated with old age.
His health and age had become a major political issue that it formed a list of the reasons outlined by legislators from Zanu PF for his impeachment in Parliament had he stuck to his guns and refused to buckle to military pressure to resign.
Mugabe, in the past three years, gobbled millions of taxpayers’ money in foreign travel with most of his jaunts to the Far East for what Charamba said then were routine medical check-ups.