Mugabe hospital video triggers speculation

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe was on Tuesday filmed entering Singapore’s private Gleneagles Hospital where officials last week said he would undergo a routine eye check-up during his weeklong private visit.

NDUDUZO TSHUMA
STAFF REPORTER

The video, posted on Britain’s Channel 4 website showed Mugabe entering the health facility in the company of his wife Grace and a few aides.

The Mugabes and their aides seemed to have been ambushed by the cameraperson as there seemed to be no other people outside the entrance they had used.

In the 28-second long video clip, the First Lady is the first to protest the filming saying: “You shouldn’t take photo, why are you taking a photo?”

A voice, presumably of the person taking the clip, responds: “This is a public place.”

The First Lady seems to approach the cameraperson and a male aide appears to restrain her before pleading with the person to stop filming.

Mugabe, who was reportedly walking with a slight limp and with his hands behind his back, stops when he spots the camera person.

However, Mugabe maintains his posture calmly and does not utter a word during the entire scene. At one moment he slowly draws back as if to evade the camera.

According to Channel 4, Gleneagles Hospital was named as one of the world’s top 10 institutions for medical tourists in 2013.

The channel also claimed that the hospital’s Parkway Cancer Centre was “well-regarded”.

Gleneagles Hospital’s Parkway Eye Centre is reported to offer the latest in blade-free LASIK and cataract removal surgery.

Mugabe’s health has been subject of local and international speculation and there have long been claims that he is suffering from advanced prostate cancer.

Mugabe travelled to Singapore earlier in the year for what his spokesperson George Charamba said was a second eye procedure on his left eye indicating that the right had already been operated on.

Yesterday, Charamba told our sister paper NewsDay: “I don’t work for Channel 4 and you want me to comment on that. I don’t tell you when the president is coming as it is in our initial press statement we issued when he travelled out of the country last week.”

Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo last month said Mugabe was in good health and his eyesight was not deteriorating.

A picture of Mugabe delivering his Independence Day speech at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on April 18 triggered fresh speculation about his health on social networks. Mugabe kept on removing his spectacles during the speech amid speculation his right eye was troubling him.

But Moyo said the fears were unfounded and accused journalists of trying to use every opportunity to denigrate Mugabe.

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