Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga yesterday finally responded to claims that he uses skin lightening creams, saying his new complexion is a result of a rare disease that attacked him during Operation Restore Legacy when President Robert Mugabe was ousted from power following a military intervention last November.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
Speaking at the burial of his sister, Margaret Machekabuwe in Marondera yesterday, Chiwenga, who was the Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander during the military operation, said his condition was not a result of bleaching, but an ailment he was receiving treatment for.
“Let me say this since the media are here. During Operation Restore Legacy, I was with General (Phillip Valerio) Sibanda, he is a great man as you see him, I also called (Police Commissioner-General Godwin) Matanga (to the meeting). Unfortunately, I fell very sick while in their company,” he said.
“This is what caused my sickness to the extent of having a light skin. I was affected all over the body, and the papers said I am applying a skin lightening cream.”
Chiwenga has been the subject of a barrage of jokes, particularly on social media platforms, earning the nicknames Bleachy Chiwenga and General Ambi.
He said he was taking herbs to cure the ailment and his late sister was the one who had sought the treatment for him.
“We could not find treatment even in South Africa to cure the ailment and Margaret went to a sister (Roman Catholic nun) and got some herbs that I was taking and I survived,” he said.
“But before the herbs, they would say let us pray first.”
The Vice-President did not name the disease afflicting him.
Chiwenga’s sister died after an asthma attack while watching TV at her farm outside Marondera at the weekend.
She was 63.