WASHINGTON DC – Some Zimbabweans have expressed concern over President Robert Mugabe’s constant visits to Singapore where he usually undergoes what the government describes as a routine eye check-up.
They say his third visit this week to the Asian nation is worrying as the country needs a leader who can stir Zimbabwe out of its current social and economic problems.
One of the concerned Zimbabweans is human rights activist, Clement Moyo, who said the president’s continuous absences are an indication that he is no longer fit to rule the country.
But Zanu PF activist Morris Ngwenya said Mugabe’s visits had nothing to do with issues like corruption.
Independent political analyst David Monyae said his trips were creating a lot of political anxiety in Zimbabwe and beyond.
Mugabe had a cataract operation in Singapore on the eve of his 90th birthday in February, officials said, and his visits to the south-eastern Asian State have become more frequent over the last couple of years amid fears for his health.
Spokesman George Charamba said Mugabe – who denies he has prostate cancer or any other serious illness – would be away for a week and would undergo a “routine eye check-up following a recent procedure on the same”.
When he addressed an independence anniversary rally on April 18, a squinting Mugabe struggled to read his speech and his eyes appeared swollen when he removed his spectacles.
His health is a concern for Zimbabweans who fear instability if Mugabe dies in office without resolving a succession battle raging in his Zanu PF party, which has ruled the Southern African country since independence from Britain in 1980.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are seen as the frontrunners, but Mugabe, Africa’s oldest president, recently confirmed that the contest was open to other Zanu PF leaders as well.