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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Back to Singapore, Reigniting Speculation as to Health

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Celebrating his 87th birthday in public on Saturday, President Mugabe conceded old age was taking its toll, but said his ideas were those of a young man

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 87, headed back to Singapore on Thursday for what a spokesman said was another follow-up visit after surgery for an eye cataract, sparking further speculation as to whether his health is failing.

Officials of his ZANU-PF party have said he underwent surgery for a cataract in the eye in December. But some news reports have said he suffers from prostate cancer. He was in Singapore just two weeks ago for medical consultations.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba said Mr. Mugabe left on a commercial flight and would return to the country on Sunday, adding this was Mugabe’s "final checkup."

Celebrating his 87th birthday in public on Saturday, President Mugabe conceded old age was taking its toll, but said his ideas were those of a young man.

Mr. Mugabe declared that "87 is only 8 plus 7. I want to remain with you. My body may get spent, but I wish my mind will always be with you.”

One source present in Harare Wednesday when Mr. Mugabe launched a petition against Western sanctions targeting him and his inner-circle said he was "looking well."

Zimbabwean eye surgeon Solomon Guramatunhu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that cataract removal is a simple procedure that requires little follow-up. "In fact a cataract patient should be able to drive their car the next day after surgery," he said.

Political analyst Mqondobanzi Magonya told VOA reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that Mr. Mugabe’s health may well be deteriorating, given his age. "It is expected that a person of his age should have failing health, and it's a pity he wants to die in office."

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