THE planned visit of President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe to Ghana has been cancelled amid health concern, sources said.
The 92-year-old president was scheduled to arrive in Ghana at 4:00pm on Wednesday, August 18, for a four-day state visit but Ghanaian media said the country’s State Protocol confirmed Mr Mugabe’s visit cancelled in mysterious circumstances.
Last night no official explanation came out from Zimbabwean President’s office but sources said Mr Mugabe has not been well in the last few days.
This months local media reported that a team of doctors was flown into Harare from Singapore for an emergency attention to the ageing Zimbabwean strongman’s health ahead of the country’s Heroes Day celebrations.
Last year Mugabe slipped on a carpet when he returned from an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, provoking a storm of comment and much online humour. His wife was not with him at the time.
A columnist with an online publication who is thought to have inside information on President Robert Mugabe and says he frequently travels to Harare, Ken Yamamoto, wrote in his latest instalment that the president had also drastically reduced his daily working routine to 30-minute afternoon sessions.
Yamamoto claimed Mugabe, 92, is now spending most of his time sleeping, seemingly because of old and failing health.
“Doctors had to be flown in this last week from Asia to medically prop him up to enable him to stand the rigors of Zimbabwe’s long weekend which includes the Heroes day festivities.
“Except when he has pressing meetings, Mugabe now works 30 minutes a day, often coming to his office around 3pm and leaving half an hour or so afterwards to go home and sleep,” said Yamamoto.
The president has often sneaked out to Singapore to receive emergency and routine medical attention amid reports that he has prostate cancer and his eyes are failing while he frequently collapses.
A recent photograph showing Mugabe’s wilted hands has gone viral.
Yamamoto, who predicted that Mugabe would not last another 12 months, also claimed that Mugabe’s wife, Grace, no longer shared the family bedroom with the president, saying she “now lives in a separate section of their mansion”.
Grace, though, has vowed that her husband will continue ruling Zimbabwe, even if that has to be from a wheelchair or his grave.
Ghana’s president, John Mahama, was expected to confer on Mr Mugabe, the Millennium Lifetime Achievement award for his role in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle from British colonial rule.
Meanwhile the Millennium Excellence Foundation Management has also cancelled the Presidential Lecture which was to be delivered by President Mugabe on August 20 in Accra.
The management attributed the cancellation “due to reasons beyond the control” of the Foundation. Similarly, a grand durbar which was scheduled to take place in Kumasi on August 21 has also been postponed.
However, the Foundation says it will go ahead with the Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize on Saturday, August 20 at which event nine persons including three Ghanaians – Dr Kwabena Dufuor, Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong and Nana Kwame Bediako – are expected to be conferred with LAAP prize.
In 2007 Grace Mugabe suffered an embarrassing moment in Ghana when she was barred from entering the late Sally Mugabe’s home in Sekondi.
Ghanaian-born Sally was President Mugabe’s first wife who died of a kidney ailment in 1992.
Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba confirmed the incident but dismissed it as “nothing to write home about”. He said the incident was a result of a misunderstanding between the presidential delegation and members of Sally’s family. “There was a small misunderstanding between the presidential delegation and some family members of the late First Lady,” said Charamba.
“You must understand that the president is a married man and what happened is a fairly normal tension in an African marriage.”
When the presidential party arrived at Sally’s home for a courtesy call, Mugabe’s in-laws barred Grace from entering.
The sources said Mugabe held talks with Sally’s relatives, including her mother Mavis Hayfron, but his wife was prevented from entering the home and was made to wait in the vehicle until Mugabe completed his visit.
The 92-year-old Zimbabwean strongman’s health is a constant source of speculation in and outside Zimbabwe. Many believe his frequent trips abroad include health check stop-offs in Singapore.