Speculation over President Robert Mugabe’s health has swirled again amid reports he is receiving treatment in Malaysia.
A Daily Telegraph story, widely run in the international media on Monday, alleged President Mugabe was in hospital in Malaysia after reportedly undergoing an operation.
It could not be ascertained whether it was just a routine medical check-up or not being referred to by the reports.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, however, poured cold water on the story he dismissed as untrue.
He insisted the President was still on his annual leave.
“You seem to know more about the President than I do,” said Charamba.
“As far as I am concerned, the President is on his annual leave and we made this public. He will be back soon,” Charamba said.
The President usually takes annual leave from December to January. Vice-President John Nkomo is the acting Head of State.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo echoed Charamba’s statement saying as far as the party was concerned, President Mugabe was on leave.
“As a party, what we know is that he is on annual leave. That’s what we know as a party,” he said.
Malaysian Home Affairs minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on Monday responded to media reports doing the rounds, declining to confirm or deny the allegations by the British newspaper that President Mugabe was in that country.
“I cannot confirm that and I won’t (say) one way or the other,” the minister is quoted as saying in The Malaysian Insider newspaper.
According to the reports, President Mugabe, who will be 87 in February, underwent medical examinations while on holiday in Malaysia earlier this month.
Rumours over President Mugabe’s health have over the years swirled, but have never been confirmed.
In September last year, President Mugabe publicly denied persistent rumours over his health.
“I don’t know how many times I die, but nobody has ever talked about my resurrection,” the President said at a meeting with Zimbabwean editors at State House.
“I suppose they don’t want to, because it would mean they would mention my resurrection several times and that would be quite divine an achievement for an individual who is not divine,” President Mugabe said.
“Jesus died once, and was resurrected only once, and poor (President) Mugabe several times. My time will come, but for now, no.”