Zimbabwe Party Dismisses Report President is Ill

Posted April 10th, 2012 at 9:30 am (UTC-5)
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Members of President Robert Mugabe's political party have rejected a media report saying the Zimbabwean leader has undergone “intensive” medical treatment in Singapore.

Officials with ZANU-PF on Tuesday dismissed an online report by The Zimbabwe Mail newspaper claiming the 88-year-old president is seriously ill.

According to party officials, Mr. Mugabe is on a 10-day “private visit” that he used, in part, to help his daughter Bona prepare for post-graduate studies. ZANU-PF officials add the president will return to the country this week.

President Mugabe is rumored to have prostate cancer and has made several trips to Singapore in the past 18 months. His spokesman has repeatedly denied Mr. Mugabe is sick.

Zimbabwe's cabinet was due to meet on Tuesday, but on Monday the president's chief secretary asked the meeting be delayed because Mr. Mugabe remained out of the country. The gathering has been rescheduled for Thursday.

Some ministers complained the president's absence has been crippling the coalition government.

Mr. Mugabe's and his party are in an uneasy power-sharing government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change .

On Monday, the MDC's national healing minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu told VOA “the country grinds to a halt” when the president is out and he added “this needs to change.”