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Zimbabwe Trashes Reports President Mugabe is Gravely Ill

The ZANU-PF party of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday dismissed as nonsense media reports that Mr. Mugabe is battling for his life in a hospital in Singapore, saying the president is in good health and will be back in time for a cabinet meeting scheduled for Thursday.

Citing anonymous sources, a Zimbabwean shadowy online publication reported Monday that Mr. Mugabe was airlifted from Harare to Singapore late last month for what it described as intensive treatment, supposedly for prostate cancer.

International news organizations quickly picked up the story, and in some instances, gave it a new spin. The Daily Mail of London for example, pushed things a little further and claimed that the “Zimbabwean tyrant" was "close to death.”

But Information Minister Webster Shamu and other ZANU-PF officials were pushing back hard describing the reports as “hogwash” and “nonsense.”

"The president is okay; there is nothing untoward. He is expected back in the next 48 hours and he will be chairing the cabinet on Thursday," party spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA.

"All those rumors are coming from our detractors who want to divide the party, but it will not work…we don’t accept such kind of nonsense.”

Independent political commentator Effie Dlela Ncube said the persistent reports about Mr. Mugabe’s ill-health were as a result of the secrecy surrounding his well-being.

"Zimbabweans deserve to know about the health situation of those that they elect into office," he said.

Another analyst, Professor John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that Zimbabweans have the right to know about the president’s health.