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Mugabe's health status questioned by Zanu-PF and MDC formations

by Bhebhe Mandla
27 Apr 2011 at 19:41hrs | 778 Views
Concerns around President Robert Mugabe's health status continue to grow. Speculation around the president's health have become so bad that some parliamentarians, from both the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu PF, are believed to be working together to investigate the possibility of impeaching him on account of his advanced age and alleged failing health.

While the likelihood of that happening any time soon appears remote, the concerned legislators have been emboldened by the dramatic defeat of Zanu PF's candidate in the recent speaker of parliament elections.

It is generally accepted that some Zanu-PF MPs voted with their MDC counterparts to vote back Lovemore Moyo and to embarrass Zanu-PF's chairman, Simon Khaya-Moyo in that epoch-making ballot.

At the same time as Zimbabweans are seized with the issue of the president's well being and his frequent visit to the Far East for medical assistance, Sadc leaders have also been quietly expressing their anxiety about the 87-year-old's frail physical condition and what this might mean in the event that his fitness continues to worsen.

The concerns around Mugabe's health also come as Sadc and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have expressed some disquiet around the fact that Mugabe is no longer in charge of the country as securocrats have allegedly taken over.

Analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said while they wished Mugabe well, his health status was a "legitimate national issue" for Zimbabweans and needed to be dealt with openly and transparently.

"As we have seen across our border, in South Africa, when Madiba (Nelson Mandela) fell ill, the whole of South Africa went into panic mode and this only changed when the South African government became a little bit more upfront with his condition.

"It is the same here in Zimbabwe.  People are genuinely concerned about the president's state of health and what this means for our troubled nation.  Sadly, there has been so much disinformation and clearly equally untruthful denials about how he is feeling and this is creating unnecessary speculation and anxiety.

"Someone in Zanu PF ought to realise that the nation now needs assurance that the president is well and in charge of the country. Failure to disclose his status is contributing to the whispering crisis and the paralysis in some parts of government that we see," said an analyst who requested anonymity.

University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer John Makumbe said people deserved to know if the president was ill or not because a significant amount of money had been spent on the president's trips while civil servants were denied salary increments.

Makumbe said releasing information on the state of the president's health was a matter "of good and transparent governance", where people had the right to know about the health of their president and his wife.

"People need to know how much they are paying to have the president and his wife treated. People also need to know why he has to go to the Far East to get treatment, yet China is willing to send its doctors here.

"People also deserve to know why he is not being treated here as many Zimbabweans do," he said.

Makumbe went on to say that the "president's illness is no longer a secret" because of the number of trips he has made to the Far East.

"Many Zimbabweans think the smart thing to do is for him to step down and nobody will chase him away. To assume that at 87, he still has what he had at 37 is unreal.

"It's also advisable for him (Mugabe) to take a rest while Tsvangirai is still in charge of the MDC because he (Tsvangirai) will not take him to the Hague.

"Other guys will parade him along First Street," Makumbe said.

Human rights researcher Pedzisai Ruhanya, who believes securocrats are now the defacto leaders of the country, said that the physical appearance of the president bore witness to the fact that he was ill.

"It is a general sickness that is associated with old age.  At 87 we cannot expect him to be fit.

"We expect him to resign and rest and allow those who are healthy, those who are fit to administer the affairs of the state after a democratic free and fair election," Ruhanya said.

Crisis Coalition spokesperson Philip Pasirayi said people had the right to access information concerning the health of Mugabe because it was an important criterion used in the election of a president.

"The first criterion for the election of a president is the state of his health. People should have the freedom to talk about the president's health on the basis that it is them who voted him into office," Pasirayi said.

He said Zimbabweans wanted a president who was fit and energetic enough to drive the country forward.

Source - Daily News
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