Poor Health? Mugabe Cancels 4th-Day Ghana Trip
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is no longer travelling to Ghana this week, it has emerged, but reasons for the cancellation remain unclear with Harare’s envoy to the West African country tight-lipped over the issue.
Harare did not, as is usual, announce the four-day trip but Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Ghana, last week, told local media that Mugabe would visit the West African country from August 18 to 22.
Ambassador Pavelyn Tendai Musaka said Mugabe would use the trip to “open corporate Ghana to opportunities in Zimbabwe”.
She added that Africa’s oldest leader had a “a special soft spot” for the West African country where he married his first wife, the late Sally Francesca Hayfron.
And, in indications that the visit was highly anticipated, billboards had been erected in the Ghanaian capital Accra to welcome the Zimbabwean leader.
But local media reported Thursday that the visit had been cancelled.
Reasons remained unclear, but some publications speculated that this was due to domestic political issues in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe has been buffeted by pressure on various fronts lately, with citizens staging protests to demand his resignation over the country’s deepening economic crisis.
His own Zanu PF party is also in turmoil, with ministers publicly accusing vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa of plotting to oust the 92-year-old leader while previously loyal war veterans have also revolted.
Again, adding to the anxiety at State House, is speculation that Mugabe’s health is failing amid claims doctors had to be flown in from Singapore ahead of the recent Heroes and Defence Forces holidays.
Claimed Zimbabwe analyst Ken Yamamoto in a recent article; “Doctors had to be flown in this last week from Asia to medically prop him up to enable him (Mugabe) 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.”
Meanwhile, had he travelled to Ghana, Mugabe was expected to be awarded the Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize and deliver a presidential lecture at an event organized by the Millennium Excellence Foundation.
The Foundation says it will go ahead with the event on Saturday at which nine individuals including three locals are expected to be conferred with awards.
Other personalities to be awarded include Tokyo Sexwale (South Africa), Tabitha Karanja (Kenya), Hanson Sindowe (Zambia) and Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo).
Mugabe lived in Ghana between 1955 and 1958, teaching at a local secondary school.