HARARE – President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe arrived home last night, quashing rumours that the ailing 91-year-old Zanu PF leader had suffered a heart attack and died while on his annual leave in the Far East.
The Mugabe’s were welcomed by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Service Chiefs, Cabinet ministers and other senior Government officials who lined up at the airport. As usual the First Lady had to support the increasingly frail Mugabe walk from the plane.
Mugabe is expected to meet Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who is in Zimbabwe here on a three-day working visit to consult President Mugabe ahead of the 26th African Union General Assembly later this month.
Mugabe is the African Union chairperson, having assumed office at the 25th Ordinary Session of the AU General Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January last year.
President Mbasogo, who touched down at Harare International Airport yesterday, was welcomed by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, several ministers, other senior Government officials and service chiefs.
The past few weeks have been dominated by speculation around Mugabe’s health. This was after a UK based website claimed it had received information that Mugabe had collapsed.
The website ran the headline: “Rumour rips CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) that Mugabe has collapsed”. Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba however said the story had become a usual chorus every January whenever Mugabe is on his annual leave.
“You can doubt that there can be a New Year, but you cannot doubt that there will be a story on the President’s alleged death every January,” he said.
“This is the way the website seeks to improve its hits in order to get dirty money from Google. There is a financial incentive to the grim lie.
“Government is exploring mechanisms for dealing with such extra territorial mischief. These websites ride on carriers, don’t they?” Charamba threatened.