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Then-Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe at the South Africa-Zimbabwe Binational Commission in Pretoria in October 2017. Photo: AFP

Robert Mugabe still in Singapore hospital after four months, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa reveals

  • Former leader has been receiving medical care there since April, much longer than his usual month-long stay
  • Mugabe, 95, is being treated for an undisclosed ailment and is ‘responding well’

Zimbabwe’s ex-leader Robert Mugabe remains hospitalised in Singapore where he has been receiving medical care for four months, his successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday.

Mnangagwa said in a statement that the 95-year-old Mugabe had been receiving medical care for an undisclosed ailment, and was responding well to treatment.

“Founding president and founding father of our nation (comrade) Robert Mugabe remains detained at a hospital in Singapore where he is receiving medical attention,” Mnangagwa said.

“Unlike in the past when the former president would require just about a month for this, his physicians this time around determined that he be kept under observation for much longer from April this year when he left for his latest routine check-up.”

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends a meeting with labour unions in Harare, Zimbabwe, in June. Photo: Reuters

Mnangagwa, who announced in November last year that Mugabe was now unable to walk because of ill-health and old age, said he had sent a team including Chief Secretary to Cabinet Misheck Sibanda to Singapore last week to check on the former ruler.

“I am greatly pleased to inform the nation that the former president continues to make steady progress towards eventual recovery and that his condition is remarkably stable for his age,” Mnangagwa said.

The team that visited Mugabe reported that he was “responding well to treatment” and that “because of the good progress he is making (comrade) Mugabe could be released fairly soon.”

When the government announced in April that he had gone to Singapore for medical treatment in May, it said that he was expected back home mid-May.

Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist from independence in 1980 until he resigned under pressure from the military and his party in 2017. He has regularly visited Singapore for medical treatment for more than 10 years. Mugabe previously said the visits were for scheduled check-ups after an eye operation.

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Mnangagwa took over in November 2017 with the backing of the military, ending Mugabe’s 37-year rule. He went on to be elected in disputed elections in July last year.

He has vowed to revive Zimbabwe’s ailing economy by attracting much needed foreign direct investment but months after his election, the ghost of the country’s past economic woes have returned to haunt the country including shortages of bread and fuel and power cuts lasting up to 18 hours.

With Zimbabwe’s health system rapidly deteriorating, many of the country’s top officials fly out of the country for medical treatment. Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, a former army general who led the military’s revolt against Mugabe, was airlifted last month to China, after previously getting medical treatment in India and South Africa.

Additional reporting by Associated Press