Former president Robert Mugabe, who has been in Singapore for the past two months seeking medical attention, is now unable to walk, it was revealed yesterday.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from the teetotaller following a military intervention in November last year, told thousands of Zanu PF supporters who converged at Murombedzi Growth Point in Mashonaland West that his predecessor is now unable to walk.
“He (Mugabe) can no longer walk but we will continue to take care of him,” Mnangagwa said while addressing his first ‘thank you rally’ in the 94-year-old former Zanu PF strongman’s home province.
Mnangagwa, aged 76, beat his closest challenger, Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance, by a slender margin in the July 30 harmonised elections.
Mugabe had surprised his Zanu PF compatriots by throwing his weight behind Chamisa in that election to spite those who seized power from him.
The disgraced despot, who ruled his country with an iron fist until his overthrow by the army, has been in the Asian island city state of Singapore for the past two months.
Mnangagwa said Mugabe was supposed to return to Zimbabwe on October 15 and is now expected to return on Friday.
He did not give further details about Mugabe’s condition.
There are several diseases that contribute to failure to walk, among them arthritis, birth defects, such as clubfoot, leg injuries, bone fractures, infections that damage tissues in the legs, shin splints, tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons) and psychological disorders, including conversion disorder.
In the case of Mugabe, it is most likely that age is fast catching up with him.
Mugabe was the world’s oldest head of State before his dramatic exit a year ago.
His health status has been a talking point in various episodes in the history of the country.
In many instances, there were rumours and speculation of Mugabe’s failing health and some went to the extent of claiming that he was suffering from chronic prostate cancer.
The curse of poor eye sight which comes with old age has also affected Mugabe, who openly admitted at some point that he has for years been suffering from cataracts which affected his right eye.
Mugabe has been visiting Singapore for treatment since 2011, but his trips have been increasing with each passing year, suggesting a deteriorating health condition.
Due to the failure of the first family to openly discuss Mugabe’s ailments, rumours and speculating abound that the former president is suffering from other diseases outside the eye cataracts.
On various occasions, Mugabe has been caught in the public struggling to walk on his own and on more than two occasions he tripped and fell while in the public glare.
Yesterday, Mnangagwa thanked the traditional leadership in Mashonaland West for giving the country Mugabe who he said is the founding father of a free Zimbabwe, adding that those who had other ideas should know that he is the founding father.
“He led us in the war of liberation. We are now going forward with the revolution. Those who had surrounded the former president had no roots in the revolution.
“Those who fail to walk the correct line of the revolution will fall by the wayside. We thank Chief Zvimba for giving us former president Mugabe. We are looking after him as our elder.
“He is out of the country at the moment and we expect him back on November 30. We thank Mash West because it has shown that it is pure Zanu PF,” he said.
In the just ended elections, Zanu PF garnered 18 out of 22 seats in Mashonaland Province in the National Assembly, with Mnangagwa garnering 312 958 votes against Chamisa’s 217 732 in the presidential poll.