HARARE, July 16 — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe returned home yesterday after medical treatment in Singapore, the state broadcaster said, putting to rest speculation over the 93-year-old’s whereabouts.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said Mugabe, who left for Singapore last Saturday, “had eye surgery in the Asian country a few years ago” and had returned for a “routine medical check-up.”
Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from British colonial rule in 1980, is his party’s presidential candidate for next year’s elections despite concerns over his age and fitness to rule.
ZBC later reported that Mugabe’s wife Grace was injured in an “freak car accident” involving her motorcade at Harare airport as she returned with the president.
“(She) suffered some soft tissue bruising on the right ankle as a result,” ZBC said, adding that she did not suffer any major injury and was discharged from hospital shortly after the incident. It is unclear exactly how Grace’s ankle was injured.
This week’s trip is Mugabe’s third there this year.
Public hospitals in Zimbabwe often suffer from chronic shortages of drugs and staff as the economy has struggled to rebound following years of mismanagement.
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party was forced to postpone a rally on Friday at which he was due to address supporters, triggering speculation about his whereabouts.
Early in 2015, he tripped and fell as he left a podium after addressing supporters who had gathered at Harare airport to welcome him back from a foreign trip.
The same year he also read a speech to parliament apparently unaware that he had delivered the same speech before.
Mugabe’s party is sharply divided over his succession. Vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mugabe’s wife Grace are seen as likely contenders to take over in the event of his death or retirement.
Opposition parties have formed a coalition to fight Mugabe’s party in next year’s vote. — AFP