News / Africa

Mugabe: Reports of Health Problems 'Naked Lies'

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, right, chats to Prime Minister Morgan Tsavangirai during their end of year press conference at State House in Harare, 20 Dec 2010 (File Photo)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, right, chats to Prime Minister Morgan Tsavangirai during their end of year press conference at State House in Harare, 20 Dec 2010 (File Photo)

President Robert Mugabe returned home Sunday after a trip to Asia. Mr. Mugabe said on his return that reports that he received medical treatment earlier this month were false.

Mr. Mugabe arrived home at Harare International Airport Sunday and told the state broadcaster that reports he had medical treatment in Malaysia were "naked lies put across from year to year."

He said he had not been in Malaysia but was in Singapore on his annual holiday.

Mr. Mugabe looked fit on his arrival home. He will be traveling to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa later this week.

The 87-year-old Mugabe has, for the last eight years, regularly consulted doctors and an eye specialist in Asia. News reports in the British and South African media said Mr. Mugabe was operated on for a problem with his prostate gland. They cited diplomats and other unnamed sources.

As Zimbabwe heads toward elections proposed later this year Mr. Mugabe said there were members of his party competing to be his successor. He said that was an internal party issue to be dealt with by ZANU-PF's top policy body, its 50-member politburo.

He added that if no new constitution emerged under the inclusive government he had a constitutional right to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections under the old constitution.

The inclusive government was formed after disputed violence-plagued elections in 2008. Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party won the parliamentary vote but he boycotted a presidential run-off poll to protest violence against his supporters by Mr. Mugabe's loyalists in the police and military.

Part of the political agreement in forming the inclusive was that a new constitution would be put to a referendum ahead of elections.

But the constitution writing process is several months behind schedule and the parliamentary committee responsible for the process says a draft constitution will only be ready in June.

According to the political agreement, much of which is enshrined in an amendment to the constitution,  the inclusive government can continue until the next legislative and presidential elections which must be held before end of March 2013.

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