According to state media reports, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe returned home Friday morning from Singapore where he spent part of his annual leave. But to reinforce its story the Herald newspaper proceeded to use a fake picture.
The paper used a picture of Mugabe returning from the AU summit in Addis Ababa in January 2013. This has continued to fuel speculation about the health of the Zanu PF leader who turns 90 next month and has been in power for nearly 34 years.
Last month anonymous Facebook activist Baba Jukwa claimed Mugabe’s health had deteriorated and he had suffered a collapse.
In a subsequent interview with Nehanda Radio last week Baba Jukwa said “There is so much cover-up by the intelligence at present but please do understand I never said Mugabe has died. I only give you the facts as I see and hear them.”
Meanwhile Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba, who is also the Permanent Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, said President Mugabe would spend the remainder of his leave in Zimbabwe.
Vice President Joice Mujuru continues as Acting President until President Mugabe’s leave is over. This in some quarters however is being interpreted as Mugabe needing more time to recover from whatever medical setback he has suffered.
Mugabe is a frequent Far Eastern visitor and spends much of his time traveling back and forth for medical care. His doctor is based in Singapore and hence the reason for his frequent visits to that country.
Although ZANU PF continuously dismisses any reports that their ageing leader has serious health problems, there is widespread speculation that the care he is receiving is ‘specialist’ and related to prostate cancer.
According to a leaked 2008 US diplomatic cable, then central bank chief Gideon Gono told then-US ambassador James McGee that Mugabe had prostate cancer and had been advised by doctors he had less than five years to live.