President Mugabe collapsed at home, again

HARARE – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe collapsed at his mansion in Harare last night after what impeccable sources said was a continuation of his mounting health problems, The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal.\r\n

A source in the President Mugabe’s close security details told our reporter this morning that the 87 year old Zimbabwean leader collapsed before he went to bed last night but he recovered after a routine work carried out by his medical team of experts and this morning he was said to be feeling a lot better.

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The source said the First Family had just finished going through an evening prayer conducted by a well known senior Harare Cleric who is close to the family and the First Lady who is also reported to be not feeling well, went to bed while the President took sometime going through late night routine briefings with his aids.

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Around 10:30pm, President Mugabe’s medical team was called in from the Guest House where they now live.

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Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa and his wife Gertrude arrived 30 minutes later.

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Gertrude, a retired army colonel is the family nurse trained in United Kingdom and soon after her arrival she took the responsibility of comforting the sobbing First Lady up until late this morning.

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As part of the routine process in the last few months, an order was send to Air Zimbabwe, the State national carrier to prepare for an emergence flight to Singapore for the President’s further treatment. However, his medical team did a splendid job overnight and this morning he was reported to be feeling fine but he has held back on some State duties.

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We could not verify if Mugabe chaired this week’s traditional weekly Cabinet meeting.

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A heavily sedated Mugabe has made a number of sporadic appearances in public gatherings in recent months to show his detractors that he still has some strength left to carry on.

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Mugabe celebrated his 87th birthday in February, and he has travelled to Singapore five times since December for, some observers believe, treatment there for prostate cancer – though his spokesman, George Charamba, says the president has only received medical care for an eye cataract.

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His mounting health problems have rocked his party Zanu PF amid reports that regional counterparts are planning to force him to step down on the grounds of peace and stability in the region.

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This latest health setback for the President comes just days before all regional leaders of the SADC bloc are due to meet in Namibia next week to discuss an election roadmap that is expected to pave the way for fresh, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and already his health has been at the centre of attention following South African ruling party, ANC’s revelation that it is very much concerned about the issue.

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South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has expressed concern that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s reportedly declining health could set back efforts to resolve the country’s crisis should he “die or resign” before a new constitution is in place.

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South African President Jacob Zuma, also president of the ANC party, is mediating talks between Mr. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change on behalf of the Southern African Development Community.

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“The president’s health has become an issue of public concern and even we as ministers don’t know what exactly is going on,” his loyalist have said in private.

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“There is need for clarity on this issue in the public interest because it is now beginning to affect government operations and the party is close to a break-up.”

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In December last year, Tendai Biti, the finance minister, told a rally that Mugabe was asleep for the “better part” of a two-hour meeting on the budget.

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Some reports say Mugabe, is mulling stepping down as Zanu PF’s presidential candidate if the liberation party fails to gain SADC consensus on plans for an early election; amid mounting tensions in his own party as bitter rival factions jostle for positions.

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ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo has said in the past, the former ruling party is not worried about what will happen if and when Mr. Mugabe leaves office, saying that the question will be dealt with at that time.

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“We’ll cross the bridge when we get to it. We don’t speculate and we don’t anticipate,” Gumbo said.

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Johannesburg-based political analyst Zenzo Nkomo has said Pretoria is seriously concerned about Zimbabwe’s future, adding that if Mugabe should die in office, that would most likely be politically advantageous to the Movement for Democratic Change.

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Harare-based commentator Charles Mangongera has the unresolved issue of Mugabe’s succession is a time bomb for ZANU-PF and Zimbabwe as a nation can move on.

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“The implosion of ZANU-PF as a party would be less worrying for Zimbabweans. But my fear is that because each one faction controls a chunk of the establishment, that is a recipe for armed conflict in the country,” Mangongera said.

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Zanu PF Politburo, Central Committee and Consultative Assembly sources are already on a full blown exercise to de-brief members of the media on the possible departure of President Mugabe before the ahead of the country’s general elections.

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Sources in Zanu PF have separately confirmed in reports that Zimbabweans could wake up “quite soon” to find that the era that began after the fall of the supremacist Ian Smith regime was over.

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Frail-looking and tired Zimbabwean strongman has been the undisputed Zimbabwe’s political power since 1980. Mugabe has led the nation with absolute authority since taking over 31 years ago. Speculation has been brewing about succession since late last year when the veteran President began shuttling between Harare and Singapore reportedly over a cancer ailment.

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