“In Zanu (PF), we never talk about his health. That one is not an issue,” party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said on Thursday.
“To us, he is still fit and if he presents himself, we will support him. In fact, he has indicated that he would want to run in the next poll and we are satisfied with this. He is a tried and tested leader and we can entrust him to be our Presidential candidate.”
Mugabe (87) and his party have repeatedly denied Zimbabwean’s founding leader was experiencing a failing health and if elected again, would not last his next five-year term as President.
But his frequent and extravagant trips to the Far East to seek medical treatment have heightened fears Mugabe may not still be fit to be Zimbabwe’s next leader.
The rumour mill around President Robert Mugabe’s health swelled on Tuesday after the 87 year-old leader was spotted at Medical Chambers in Harare but his spokesperson George Charamba immeditely dismissed any health fears on his boss.
The Daily News was inundated with calls from staff and patients at Medical Chambers along Baines Avenue when Mugabe arrived there with his extra-ordinarily long motorcade comprising of his Mercedez Benz Limousine, motor bikes, an ambulance, army vehicles, smaller Mercedes Benz vehicles and trucks.
Business came to a standstill while Mugabe was going about his business at the clinic.
The Daily News crew rushed to the medical centre but due to the heavy presence of armed soldiers and security personnel it was difficult to find out where exactly the octogenarian leader was and why he had to cut short the Cabinet meeting to rush to Medical Chambers.
Inquiries by the Daily News revealed that Mugabe was at Medical Chambers for about an hour and reportedly arrived there between 12pm and 1pm.
Charamba worsened the speculation when contacted by the Daily News and could neither deny nor confirm if Mugabe had gone for an emergency check up.
He first claimed that Mugabe was chairing Cabinet at a time when he was supposed to be at Medical Chambers but immediately changed stance on realising that the Daily News had solid facts on the issue. The paper had already confirmed that Mugabe had temporarily left cabinet during the time he was spotted at Medical Chambers.
He then turned and attacked the Daily News for “wishing Mugabe ill”.
“Each time that you see Zim One (Mugabe’s official vehicle) parked outside a hospital you say the President is ill, can’t he have a sister who is sick, or a son? Which country do you live in? Don’t you know that his sister was taken ill after the death of Sabina?” Charamba said.
This added a further twist to the puzzle as Medical Chambers does not admit patients. It is a centre for different kinds of tests and is full of specialists.
Charamba added: “The health of the president is not an issue of national interest except for the Daily News. You have been focusing on it for the past three months.
You said the president is on his death bed and I produced him and said there is the president.” However, the Daily News never said Mugabe was on his death bed.
At the Medical Chambers soldiers from the presidential guard unit were stationed at the entrance of the centre and some at different corners.
Inside the medical centre, armed security men spotted in their trade mark dark glasses and shiny suits maintained a heavy presence.