President Robert Mugabe had yet to return home Thursday after hastily leaving Harare earlier this week on an unannounced trip abroad.
The 92-year-old leader barely stopped in Harare late Tuesday night after returning to the country in the evening of the same day from Swaziland where he was attending a meeting of the SADC regional group.
Online flight trackers showed his Air Zimbabwe plane headed East and, later, parked at Dubai’s international airport in the United Arab Emirates.
Mugabe’s private trips to the Far East are usually for his annual holiday which is taken between December and January or for medical treatment in Singapore.
The veteran leader’s spokesman, however, laughed off media speculation that Mugabe had been rushed abroad following a health scare.
“My laughter should be enough to answer these reports. Just because it is reported, it does not make them true and I have no further comment on these stories,” George Charamba told South African-based News24.com.
He however refused to explain why Mugabe left before the end of the SADC summit or why he barely stopped in Harare before flying out to Dubai.
“I will not give you the purpose of the President’s visit to run away from the default explanation (that Mugabe is unwell),” Charamba told a Harare daily.
Meanwhile, opposition parties have condemned the Zanu PF leader’s latest foreign jaunt as wasteful and repeated calls for Mugabe to step down.
“In as much as we sympathise with Mugabe over his health problems, we urge him to search his soul and conscience, so that he sees that in his current physical shape and going towards 93, it is not good to cling onto power,” said Obert Gutu of the MDC-T.
“He should go and rest and allow the nation to move forward in capable hands.”
Jacob Mafume of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) added: “We need a president who is in good health, and not one who needs to be mended now and again.”
“We as a nation should hang our heads in shame at this display by the one who is supposed to be our chief diplomat.”
Mnangagwa acting president and Mugabe remains abroad
Source: New Zimbabwe