The 87-year-old President, Robert Mugabe has gone to seek medical attention in Singapore, making it his seventh visit to Asia for medical reasons this year.
Media, Information, and Publicity minister, Webster Shamu confirmed this, claiming that the president had gone for a review after an eye operation early this year. Vice-President Joyce Mujuru is the acting president.
But on March 3, Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was quoted telling state media that his boss was “going for his final check-up”.
“As you know after a cataract operation there is a period of two weeks to check up,” Charamba said.
He had returned home from the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week Sunday after a burst tyre delayed his flight by more than 24 hours.
Mugabe’s health has been a source of intense speculation over the years, which has been heightened by leaked US diplomatic cables quoting his closest associates saying he had advanced prostate cancer.
One of the cables released by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, claimed Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono told former US ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee that in 2008 doctors had given Mugabe five years to live.
The doctors allegedly told him that his prostate cancer had spread to a number of organs and was now irreversible.
Reports say Mugabe’s doctor had urged him to step down following his health condition, but he told the doctor that he would leave office after the election.
At his birthday function early this year, Mugabe admitted that his body was now getting tired but his brains remain sharp.
There were also reports that the Mugabes demanded at least US$3 million from Treasury each time they went to Asia, which is believed to be for medical bills and travel expenses for his usually large entourage.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule. He was elected into power in 1980.
A number of people have accused Mugabe of having a racist attitude towards white people. John Sentamu, a Uganda-born Archbishop of York in the United Kingdom, calls Mugabe “the worst kind of racist dictator,” for having “targeted the whites for their apparent riches”.