PM back from SA surgical procedure

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai returned from South Africa on Monday following surgery to correct ‘broken or deformed’ nasal bones that had caused breathing difficulties, his spokesperson James Maridadi has said.

Maridadi told NewsDay in an interview this week that the Prime Minister would be recuperating from home for a week.

“I am not able to say the exact source of the problem. It could be the tragic accident of last year or the unfortunate incident of March 11 2007 when the Prime Minister was nearly killed in a typical case of police brutality at the height of political tension in this country.

“But I can tell you that the surgery was successful. The Prime Minister was having breathing problems and had to go to South Africa for the surgical procedure. As I have said, the surgery was minor and nothing life-threatening, the Prime Minister is well and fine, recuperating at home. He will be back at the office next week,” Maridadi said.

The Prime Minister did not attend the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, which was chaired by the President Robert Mugabe.

When the Tsvangirai left for South Africa last week speculation was rife over the purpose of his visit.

The Prime Minister still resides at his private home in Strathaven on the north-western periphery of the capital – a development that Maridadi described as a ‘misnomer’.

Maridadi said it was ‘quite curious’ that government was yet to accommodate the head of government in a state house, over a year after he became Prime Minister.

“He is unable to do so at his personal house which in any case is not designed for state functions. The Prime Minister should, for all intends and purposes, not be staying at his Strathaven house at this stage in the inclusive government,” Maridadi said.

Maridadi told NewsDay that there were no immediate plans that he was aware of regarding the Prime Minister’s government accommodation.

“It is known government etiquette the world over to provide senior state officials with government houses. It is therefore a real misnomer that today, more than a year after he was sworn-in Mr Tsvangirai is still living in his private accommodation.

“As head of government, he obviously fits in the category that entitles him government accommodation. I want to believe something should be done very soon,” said Maridadi.

President Mugabe refused to vacate either the State House or Zimbabwe House claiming he had his property in both mansions.

Housing minister Fidelis Mhashu told NewsDay late last year that government was, through the Mayor of Harare, looking for suitable land on which to build a house for Tsvangirai.

When the late Canaan Banana was President and Mugabe was Prime Minister prior to 1987, the two shared the two mansions with Mugabe living in Zimbabwe House while Banana occupied State House.

The two mansions are built facing each other along the same street leading to the leafy northern suburbs.