Zimbabwe Party: Reports That Mugabe is Ill Are “Nonsense”

Posted April 10th, 2012 at 11:20 am (UTC-5)
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A spokesman for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's party says media reports that the 88-year-old leader is in poor health are “nonsense.”

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA on Tuesday that President Mugabe is “okay” and will return from his trip to Singapore by Thursday.

The spokesman said Mr. Mugabe will chair a Cabinet meeting on Thursday that was delayed pending his return.

Speculation about his medical condition resurfaced on Monday after The Zimbabwe Mail newspaper reported that the Zimbabwean leader was very ill and had undergone “intensive” medical treatment in Singapore.

Gumbo called the reports rumors which he blamed on “detractors who want to divide the party.”

ZANU-PF officials say President Mugabe was on a 10-day “private visit” to Singapore to help his daughter prepare for his post-graduate studies.

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.

Some ministers complained the president's absences are 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.”