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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Brushes Aside Reports of Poor Health


Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks at the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters (File Photo - Sept. 22, 2011).

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks at the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters (File Photo - Sept. 22, 2011).

Speculation on Mr. Mugabe's health intensified recently with the release of US diplomatic cables quoting Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, a political ally, as saying in 2008 that the president had prostate cancer

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has brushed aside persistent media reports that he is in poor health following his latest trip to Singapore where officials accounts have said he received treatment for an eye cataract.

The state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. said Mr. Mugabe returned to Harare from Singapore late Sunday. It said the president arrived in a "jovial mood" and that he spent time with his daughter Bona in China during the trip.

The weekly Standard newspaper said the trip was Mugabe's seventh to Asia for medical treatment this year. Media reports have speculated he received cancer treatments.

Speculation on Mr. Mugabe's health intensified recently with the release of US diplomatic cables quoting Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, a political ally, as saying in 2008 that the president had prostate cancer. The US diplomatic report quoted Gono as saying Mr. Mugabe at that time was not likely to live beyond 2013.

Pressure for Mr. Mugabe to disclose details on his health has increased following disclosures by two senior officials about their conditions.

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe said she has breast cancer, and House Speaker Lovemore Moyo revealed on Saturday he is diabetic.

Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that Mr. Mugabe and others in high office should follow those examples.

Mugabe has been the leader of Zimbabwe since the country's independence in 1980. He now rules in a coalition government with rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

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