President Robert Mugabe has prostate cancer and was told by doctors in 2008 that the disease would kill him within five years, leaked US diplomatic cables have revealed.
According to a previously secret cable released by WikiLeaks on Friday, Mugabe’s battle with the disease was revealed to former US Ambassador James McGee by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono, during a private meeting held on June 4 2008.
In a report of the meeting released by WikiLeaks, McGee wrote: “Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), told the Ambassador on June 4 that President Robert Mugabe has prostate cancer that has metastasised and, according to doctors, will cause his death in three to five years.
“According to Gono, President Mugabe’s doctor had recommended he cut back on his activities. (Note: Gono told us last year that President Mugabe was ill and that his doctor had urged him to step down immediately.
President Mugabe had told his doctor, according to Gono, that he would leave office after the election).”
Using the time frame allegedly given by doctors, President Mugabe will not live beyond 2013.
Gono rejected the account on Saturday night, telling NewZimbabwe.com in a brief statement: “It’s a lie. I wouldn’t even dare talk about that.”
Yesterday, Gono said: “It is crap to even waste time commenting on the rogue Ambassador’s opinions, fictional mind or what kind of grass he had smoked as he was penning his masters. By attempting to quote me on awkward topics, these guys were trying to authenticate their pre-gathered, preconceived notions about a particular matter to add credibility to their imaginations.
“Fortunately for me, I revealed most of this man’s evil mind and misrepresentations about me in my book The Zimbabwe Casino Economy in 2008. Chapter 2, titled The invisible Hand’s Dirty Politics, devotes 27 pages that deals will McGee. Page 32 paragraph 2 and 3 sets the scene of my clashing with McGee.
“Anything else to the contrary is fiction. Pity the media did not take my book seriously when I made the resolutions.
“I am the one who Wikileaked these guy first and blew the whistle on what misrepresentations and mischief they were up to back in November 2008 thus my conscience is clear.”
Last week, NewsDay published a similar report under the headline “Gono sups with Mugabe enemies”.
President Mugabe’s health has remained a closely guarded secret despite constant media speculation that he was battling advanced cancer.
The Zanu PF leader — who turned 87 this year — has made several trips to the Far East, supposedly to seek treatment although officials claimed he was having a minor eye problem attended to.
He was nominated to represent the party in elections he now insists must be held by March 2012.
Despite his reported ill health, American officials who have met President Mugabe insist he is remarkably active and alert for a man his age.
Congressman Donald Payne found President Mugabe “alert and engaged” during a visit in June 2009, adding that he appeared “a vigorous 85-year-old in superb health”.
Again during another meeting in April of the same year with Norwegian minister Erik Solheim, officials remarked on President Mugabe’s “incredible vitality given his age.”