Vice President Constantino Chiwenga was yesterday rushed to hospital after suffering a dramatic fall at the Zanu PF headquarters — forcing him to cancel his politburo attendance.
The 61-year-old tripped and fell and badly hurt his hand just after arriving for yesterday’s conclave, whose agenda included election preparations, mobilisation of voters, party regalia and the threat of defections ahead of the crucial mid-year general election.
The former commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces reportedly missed a step and slipped, before injuring his hand.
He sustained a mild sprain that could limit his function for a few days.
Chiwenga was mobbed by concerned staffers and colleagues at the Zanu PF headquarters foyer, who commiserated with him as he was being rushed to hospital.
He was whisked away in his Range Rover, escorted by the police.
“We were all worried when he slipped and hurt his hand but, as you saw, he is a fighter. He just had to be excused earlier to get his hand looked at,” said a staffer at the ruling party offices.
The politburo continued with its deliberations without Chiwenga who, along with Vice President Kembo Mohadi, flank party leader and President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the top table.
Chiwenga is not the first high-profile official to fall in public under varying circumstances.
Former president Robert Mugabe became the butt of jokes and mimicry in February 2015 when he missed a step and tumbled off the podium at the then Harare International Airport moments after arriving from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The incident caused a witch-hunt within Mugabe’s inner circle, resulting in the removal of some of his close aides from the security team.
In May 2014, former police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri collapsed at a parade at Morris Depot soon after Mugabe had addressed graduates.
He was quickly wheeled off on a stretcher.
He later attributed his blackout to working long hours and a mix-up in the shoes he wore for the occasion.
“I have been working overnight for quite some time. The situation has been exacerbated or worsened by the fact that there was a mix-up of my shoes. The right shoe was mixed up with the left one. The right shoe is a bit small and it is an old shoe so my toes were burning because of the tightness of the shoe and there was no circulation (of blood) in that leg that caused me to be dizzy and then fell down.
“I had this small blackout because of what I have explained, lack of circulation but checked the blood pressure is ok you can ask Dr Mombeshora, he also checked the sugar levels, they are fine and that coupled with the heat and the type of clothing and what I also had inside because in the morning it was a bit chilly, so I had put on some T-shirt as you can see so that caused that (collapse),” he said.