President Mugabe was rushed to Singapore on health scare, not his wife

HARARE – Zimbabwean President Mugabe, and not his wife was rushed to Singapore after a health scare, a Senior State Intelligence officer and a Zanu PF official told The Zimbabwe Mail reporter last night in Harare.

This claim has since been confirmed by a number of senior Zanu PF officials.

The privately owned Standard newspaper quoted "impeccable" sources as saying that Grace "slipped and fell in the bathroom at (the Mugabes’) Borrowdale house and was said to have suffered a dislocated hip", but this morning The Zimbabwe Mail has been told that the information leaked to The Standard was a deliberate ploy to pre-empty any new health speculation on President Mugabe’s mounting health problems.

Mugabe has travelled to Singapore four times already this year, including his annual holiday in January, sparking headline reports of his mounting health problems.

George Charamba, Mugabe’s spokesman, is said to have deliberately leaked the information that the Mugabes had gone to Singapore for the First Lady’s medical check-up, and told the state-run Sunday Mail it was "a straightforward visit".

However, last night, a senior intelligence official told our reporter at the funeral of Mernard Muzariri, the Deputy-Director General in the Central Intelligence Organisation, that last week the President collapsed four times at his mansion in Borrowdale, Harare since his return from Zambia where he had attended the SADC Troika Summit.

We can also reveal that at some point the President passed out and his family members, including his wife weeped uncontrollably as they feared for the worse. His medical team is said to have played a very crucial role in resuscitating the 87 year old.

The president’s health has become an issue of public concern and even we as his security aids don’t know what exactly is going on," another security aid told The Zimbabwe Mail. "

Lately, his aids have worked out how to manage the media each time he leaves the country on a health scare and the pre-emptive leaking of information has been identified as another strategy.

With the coalition government in place, managing Mugabe’s health problems has been a nightmare for the President’s Information and Publicity Department.

Concerns about President Mugabe’s health mean his potential successors are jockeying for power behind him in Zanu PF and each time there are reports of a health scare the scramble for succession escalates.

The two frontrunners to succeed Mugabe for Zanu PF leadership are seen as Joyce Mujuru, the Vice President, who is backed by husband Solomon, the former Army chief, and Emmerson Mnangagwa, the current Defence Minister.

Human rights groups have warned that both were using illicit deals in the country’s bountiful diamonds to build up "war chests" to fight for power once Mr Mugabe dies.

Mr Mnangagwa, 65, was Mr Mugabe’s election officer during the violent 2008 presidential run-off

He is seen as the instigator of most political violence against Zanu PF’s political opponents and widely blamed for the massacres of opposition supporters in Matabeleland between 1983 – 1987.

Mrs Mujuru, 55, is popular in her rural home area and is seen by some regional leaders, especially South Africa, as an uncontroversial successor to Mr Mugabe, untainted by allegations of involvement in violence.