Mugabe health under spotlight


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ZIMBABWE – MDC-T MP Godfrey Sithole (Chitungwiza North) yesterday asked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to explain to the National Assembly if President Robert Mugabe was still fit to rule, given that he had stumbled a few times. 

Sithole said his question emanated from disturbing media reports and pictures of Mugabe slipping and falling at Harare International Airport in February, and a recent incident where he nearly fell while going up the podium at a summit in India.

“What is the state of health of the President of the nation?” Sithole queried.

Mnangagwa’s short reply was: “I can assure the MP that the President is healthier than him.”

Mugabe was recently filmed walking gingerly towards Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G20 summit in the European nation. The VP was then asked by Kuwadzana East MP, Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) to explain if he enjoyed his sleep at night, given that First Lady Grace Mugabe was going around the country holding rallies, which are perceived by some as tailored to bolster support for herself as a Presidential candidate.

“If you look at me now, do you see someone who looks as if they don’t sleep well? My wife is here in this House and you can approach her to ask if I don’t sleep well. If you are scared to ask her, you can ask my mainini (sister-in-law),” Mnangagwa said jokingly, while referring to Harare West MP Jessie Majome (MDC-T).

Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya (MDC-T) asked Mnangagwa to explain if the infighting in the ruling party was not going to deter investment into the country.

“When an opposition MP asks a question about what is going on in the ruling party, one wonders if they might be considering to cross the floor. I am not aware of the infighting. Zimbabwe is one of the most peaceful countries in the region and it has been peaceful due to Zanu PF rule,” Mnangagwa responded.

But, Chibaya said the recent incident, where a Zanu PF official, Proud Mupambwa, axed his two colleagues to death in Chitungwiza, in what was believed to be infighting, gave the impression that all was not well in the ruling party, adding political instability might deter investors.

“The answer is that yes, murder was committed, which is criminal, and the person who committed it was arrested. It shows how the rule of law applies in this country.

“It does not matter which party a person belongs to, if they commit a crime they get arrested,” the Vice-President replied.

Mnangagwa said he was not privy to information on how the suspect died in a holding cell at St Mary’s Police Station, adding he only read about it in newspapers.

Meanwhile, Chamisa quizzed Media and Information minister Chris Mushohwe over continued arrest of journalists.

Chamisa said it infringed journalists’ rights to freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution, adding Mushohwe should explain why they were tried in criminal courts, as opposed to civil courts, as doing so criminalised the journalism profession.

Mushohwe’s curt reply was that it was not government’s policy to arrest journalists, adding he was not going to comment on the arrest of the Sunday Mail journalists, as the matter was sub judice.

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