Robert Mugabe Said to Be Fighting for Life in Singapore Hospital
ZIMBABWEAN dictator Robert Mugabe was yesterday said to be fighting for his life in a Singapore hospital with an undisclosed illness, amid reports he had agreed to hand over power to his feared Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Zimbabwe Mail, quoting a senior official of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, said the President was undergoing intensive treatment in Singapore and that some members of his family had joined him after boarding a chartered private jet on Saturday.
The alarm was raised when the government postponed a cabinet meeting set for today.
Mugabe spokesman George Charamba said in a statement: “The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, wishes to inform all members of cabinet that sitting has been moved from Tuesday, April 10, to Thursday, April 12, 2012.”
Mugabe, 88, was ostensibly in Singapore to oversee enrolment in a postgraduate course at Singapore University for his daughter Bona. University registration starts in September.
A June 2008 US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last month said Mugabe has prostate cancer that has spread to other organs. He was urged by his physician to step down in 2008, but has stayed in the job.
The Tehran Times yesterday said Mugabe had entered into a “gentlemen’s agreement” to hand over power to Mnangagwa, 65, who helped orchestrate Mugabe’s battle against white rule in the 1970s.
The former head of the Zimbabwean Central Intelligence Organisation was appointed campaign manager by Mugabe during the 2008 presidential election and was widely blamed for the brutality after his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, edged ahead in the first round of voting.
He is infamous for his role in the brutal crushing of the Zapu party in the 1980s, in which thousands of civilians were killed.
The Mail said Mugabe’s failing health had forced the ZANU-PF party to press for early elections and accelerate a plan compelling foreign firms to surrender majority shareholdings, but he had not so far loosened his grip on power.
In any case, ZANU-PF would be hard pressed in elections that must be held by next year, but which could come this year, if it fielded a candidate other than Mugabe, who has been in power since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980.
The Times said the pact between Mugabe and Mnangagwa was alleged to have taken place at State House in Harare in April 2008, after the President failed to secure an outright majority over Mr Tsvangirai.
The Mail quoted a British-based Zimbabwe analyst, who wished to remain anonymous: “Mugabe’s health impacts entirely on Zimbabwe’s political landscape. Everything revolves around his health and his age.”