- The 94-year-old leader is unable to walk because of ill health and is currently hospitalized at a hospital in Singapore.
- The former president has previously denied rumours of battling cancer disclosing instead that all he was suffering were eye problems.
Former Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe race to the podium has come to an abrupt end.
The 94-year-old leader is unable to walk because of ill health and is currently hospitalized at a hospital in Singapore. He has been receiving medical care for an undisclosed illness in the past two months now.
Addressing a rally at Mugabe’s home area of Zvimba, about 100 km (60 miles) west of the capital Harare, ironically in his first "thank you" rally to the area and coming three days after the first anniversary of the Mugabe's exit, President Mnangagwa said his predecessor whom he toppled him with the help of the Zimbabwean army in late 2017, was now immobile.
"He is now old. Of course, he now is unable to walk but whatever he asks for we will provide," the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.
President Mnangagwa was, however, quick to reassure the public that despite the former head of state being unable to walk and suffering from a host of other ailments, he was feeling better and would be back in the country next week.
"He should have been back on October 25 but his health was not yet good," Mr Mnangagwa said.
"But yesterday we got a message that he thinks he is getting better. He will come back on 30 November," he added.
The former president has previously denied rumours of battling cancer disclosing instead that all he was suffering were eye problems. He, however, particularly made several medical trips to Singapore towards the end of his time in power.
Zimbabwe, a country he is accused of plundering and sinking it to its knees, is meeting all his medical cost expenses through the government coffers.
"We are looking after him. He is the founding father of the nation of Zimbabwe. He is our founding father of free Zimbabwe," the president added, AFP reports.
It is easy to see why Mnangagwa would offer promises like that despite not seeing eye to eye on many issues with Mugabe.
In the last tense hours of the coup on November 2017, Mugabe, known to be a smart negotiator, and skilful political maneuverer, managed to secure himself and his family security guarantee that not a hair on his head and family would be touched plus a fat retirement package to go lick his wounds with.
He was granted immunity from prosecution and assured that his safety would be protected in his home country as part of a deal that led him to agree to resign from office after being on power for 37 years, according to sources close to the negotiations.
“It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it,” said the source, who sought anonymity since he is not authorised to speak on the details of the negotiated settlement.
“For him, it was very important that he be guaranteed security to stay in the country...although that will not stop him from travelling abroad when he wants to or has to,” the source added.
His last international appearance as head of State was in September 2017 at the United Nations summit where he raced to the podium in a wobbly and painful fashion in what would be his last.
One hand stretched out to the wall for support, Mugabe readied himself before taking five quick shaky steps to the podium landing with his hands much to the relief of his hawk, eyed security detail.
However, upon reaching the stage, he was determined to show the world that his body might be weak but his fighting spirit was as fresh and young as the fountain of youth came.
He fired several salvos at United States President, Donald Trump who is more than two decades his junior without batting an eyelid, much to the joy of heads of state present.
“Some of us were,” Mugabe said, pausing for emphasis, “embarrassed, if not frightened, by what appeared to be the return of the biblical Giant Gold Goliath,”
“Are we having a return of Goliath to our midst, who threatens the extinction of other countries?” he asked, triggering applause in the hall as two junior US diplomats listened expressionless.
In his first TV interview since he was toppled which was aired by South Africa’s SABC broadcaster from an office in Harare, capturing him dressed in a grey suit, sitting in front of a portrait of himself and his wife Grace, Mugabe called on the world to undo the disgraceful Mnangagwa regime.
“We must undo this disgrace which we have imposed on ourselves, we don’t deserve it... Zimbabwe doesn’t deserve it,” said Mugabe referring to the brief army takeover which led to Emmerson Mnangagwa assuming power after being forced to resign.
“I say it was a coup d’etat – some people have refused to call it a coup d’etat,” he stressed.
Upon returning home, Mugabe is expected to be put on 24-hour bedrest at his massive Blue Roof mansion which sits on 44 acres of heavily wooded land and was built by a former Yugoslavian company, Energoproject at a staggering cost of reportedly worth £7.5m.
He has in the past refused to accept a proposal to go into exile away and vowed to die in his homeland, Zimbabwe.