PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa this week ordered Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to take a rest after the former army general appeared overwhelmed due to overworking and losing relatives to COVID-19.
This was revealed by Presidential spokesperson George Charamba while explaining why the Acting President was conspicuous by his absence at the burial of the late Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Ellen Gwaradzimba and liberation icon Morton Malianga at the National Heroes’ Acre on Thursday.
Charamba said Chiwenga, who is also Health minister and his colleague Vice-President Kembo Mohadi were not battling COVID-19, but resting with Mohadi at his Beitbridge farm and likely to resume official duties soon.
“As for Vice-President Chiwenga, I can only say just as well rumours don’t kill. If they did, the man would long have joined his ancestors,” Charamba said.
“Beyond taking over as Acting President while the President is on his traditional annual leave, which this year has proved more of technical fixture than a real break, the Vice-President has been working well into the early hours of most of the days, both in his Office and at home.”
He said Chiwenga’s overworking has been made worse by the demise of a few of his relatives and associates.
“Made worse by a few of his relatives and associates who have succumbed to COVID-19, alongside many other Zimbabweans A few days ago, he looked worse for wear and the President ordered him to take some deserved rest,” Charamba added.
The rest, however, came two days before he had assumed the role of Acting President, taking over from Mohadi.
“He would have wanted to be with the President at yesterday’s sorrowful burial event, in fact insisted to do so. The President restated his order and the Vice-President had to watch proceedings from home. He will resume work shortly…,” Charamba added.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday said the ruling party was working tirelessly to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and blasted opposition MDC Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti for blaming them for the pandemic. He said a wartime approach needed to be taken in the fight against COVID-19.
“A wartime approach needs to be applied in battling this deadly pandemic. That is indeed the way to go,” he said.