Former President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, have been flown to Singapore in a chartered plane for their latest round of medical check-ups.
Mugabe, 94, and the former First Lady, 53 this year, have been seeing doctors in the Asian country with increasing regularity.
Grace Mugabe underwent an operation to remove her appendix in 2015, and sources say she has been having a pain discomfort ever since.
“Doctors have have been trying to correct the problem ever since, and on her last trip they re-opened the operation and closed her up again,” a family source told ZimLive.
The couple and their aides left on a plane chartered by the Zimbabwe government in the early hours of Sunday – just days after a decision to hire a Gulfstream private jet to bring Grace home for her mother’s funeral sparked national outrage.
The Gulfstream jet was reportedly hired for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The government went on to pick the bill for the burial of Idah Murufu, Grace’s mother who died aged 83.
The Mugabes’ latest trip – which the Zimbabwe government will argue is part of Mugabe’s pension dues – comes as the country battles a new cholera outbreak that had killed at least 30 people in Harare by Sunday.
In its response to the cholera crisis, the cash-strapped government has turned to crowdfunding. Donor agencies and corporates have carried most of the weight, notably Econet Wireless which availed $10 million.
The irony of the Mugabes’ latest medical trip will not be lost on the cholera victims and their families as they deal with the consequences of urban infrastructure and health facilities collapse – all of which took place under Mugabe’s 37 years in power, abruptly ended by a military coup last November.