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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is heading for the wheelchair as health problems mount, a senior intelligence source in the President’s office has revealed to The Zimbabwe Mail.

A special wheel chair and other electronic gadgets are being designed in an unnamed Asian country, the source told our reporter in Bindura at the funeral of the First Lady Grace Mugabe’s brother, Reward Marufu.

In the coming weeks, special medical engineers will fly to Harare to prepare ground work of internal structural changes to be carried out at President Mugabe’s private residence in Borrowdale and his offices at Munhumutapa Building to accommodate state of the art high-tech gadgets.

The senior intelligence officer also confirmed that in future, the veteran leader will be on his fit only on special occasions, alongside a medical doctor and a special drug will be used to keep him fit for a small walking distance.

The source also disclosed that a number of the President Mugabe’s security details have undergone a special training to help them manage an extraordinary situation with regards to his mounting health problems.

President Mugabe’s health is taking a battering due to old age, family problems and a punishing schedule for a man of his advanced age and as a result swollen ankles, knees and all sorts of problems are mounting as the endgame looms.

A few weeks ago Mugabe collapsed into a pile in Uganda, Kampala during the Summit of African Union Heads of State and, in China, a week after; he had to be way led by Chinese security agents from the podium after addressing delegates at the Chinese at the Shanghai World Expo.

His sister Sabina died a few weeks ago and another Bridgette is in the intensive care in a Harare hospital.

Over the years, for a man of his advanced age President Robert Mugabe has looked remarkably active and ostensibly fit.

Closer inspection, however, reveals that while he is actively making it business as usual for continued stay in power, advanced age appears to have finally caught up with him. Like the rest of the body, the brain deteriorates with age.

At 86 and with 30 years as head of state behind him, Mugabe remains surprisingly in control of his mental faculty, at least during those occasions that he appears on television and on International Summits.

But of late pictures of Mugabe have appeared in the media that reveal a condition that would automatically rule him out as a serious contender for the presidency in a less authoritarian country.

In most countries, for instance, presidential candidates are required to pass what is tantamount to a rigorous public bill of health.

In the United States, such serious concerns were raised about the advanced age of the Republican presidential nominee John McCain that his campaign managers were forced to assure the nation that he was still fit not only to campaign but also to assume office as President of the United States of America. They handed over to the Associated Press 1 173 pages of medical documents spanning the period from 2000 to 2008.

Mugabe was a 12 year-old boy at Kutama School when McCain was born. Unlike his American counterparts, details of whose health make news headlines, the state of Mugabe’s health has been elevated to the status of a state secret closely guarded by him and those who surround him.

A research into the subject of the swelling of feet reveals that “systemic diseases and conditions are associated with foot and ankle swelling and are characterized by fluid retention or, less commonly, by an increase in thickness of the skin. Diseases of the joints, such as arthritis, can also affect the joints of the ankle and foot, leading to swelling of the involved areas.”

Swelling of the extremities can be an indication of underlying chronic conditions, starting from the less frightening such as deep venous thrombosis (better known as blood clots) to the more severe and life-threatening conditions such as congestive heart failure. A reported recent visit to China by Mugabe can only lead to speculation as to where in this spectrum his health currently lies.

The abnormal build up of fluid in the ankles, feet, and legs is called peripheral edema, or swelling of the lower extremities. This condition can be painless or painful.

Apparently the painless swelling of the feet and ankles is a common problem, particularly in older people. The condition may affect both legs and may include the calves or even the thighs. Because of the effect of gravity, swelling is particularly noticeable in these locations.

The following are listed as other common causes of foot, leg, and ankle swelling: prolonged standing, long airplane flights or motorcar rides, overweight and increased age. Among women menstrual periods and pregnancy may also cause swelling. Zimbabweans have nick-named their President Vasco da Gama because of his knack for excessive travel, which has taken him to every corner of the world. The imposition of travel sanctions on Mugabe and his colleagues has done nothing to reduce his penchant for travel to distant lands, mostly in the Far East of late.

He has just returned to Harare from a visit China and shopping trip to China where he was reported to have undergone a medical at a private clinic.

Surprisingly, starvation or malnutrition may also cause the swelling of feet, medical experts say. It is not conceivable that a Head of State would develop peripheral edema because of starvation while resident in State House, unless there were issues of entirely inappropriate dietary guidelines.

The experts say that swollen legs may, in fact, be a sign of heart failure, kidney failure, or liver failure. In these conditions, there is too much fluid in the body.

Heart failure is a life-threatening condition in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the rest of the body. Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common causes of heart failure, a disease which is almost always chronic and becomes more common with advancing age. People, who are overweight, have diabetes, smoke cigarettes, abuse alcohol, or use cocaine are at increased risk for developing heart failure.

Among the most common symptoms of heart failure are weight gain, swelling of feet and ankles and decreased alertness of concentration.

Apart from swollen feet and ankles Mugabe now appears to have another health issue. His voluble but not particularly commonsensical Information Minister, unwittingly let the cat out of the bag about the President’s failing vision. He said Mugabe’s sight had deteriorated so much that he could no longer read the newspapers.

Apparently Mugabe had complained that his effort to keep himself informed about events in Zimbabwe through reading the state-controlled Herald was frustrated by the small size of the print.

Describing the newspaper’s font as “the size of ants”, Mugabe, unbelievably, appealed to the minister to advise the editors of the state newspapers to increase the font size for his benefit. Always eager to please, the minister apparently promptly summoned the editors and duly delivered the President’s message.

“We could not believe it when the minister said the President had told him to ask us to increase the size of the font,” said one of the editors. “We all looked at each other amazed at what he had just said. We could not hold ourselves and openly giggled about it.”

But the minister was not to be easily deterred.

“The President clearly said he could not read stories in The Herald. Once when he wanted to read a story on page two about MDC and ZANU PF he failed. He called me and said ‘what is this?”

The editors respectfully held their ground, pointing out to the Minister that there was nothing they could do about the font size, as it was a worldwide standard and could not be changed.

Notwithstanding his advanced age and deteriorating heath Mugabe appears determined, not only do battle with, Morgan Tsvangirai, but to defeat him and manage Zimbabwe’s affairs of State for more years.

At 57, Tsvangirai is almost four decades younger than his rival.

Meanwhile, an unconfirmed report published on an online publication says that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is actively considering successors after his doctor told him he is losing the battle against cancer.

The African Aristocrat reported that his urologist Awang Kechick visited him in Zimbabwe and told him that his condition is advancing faster than any treatment could delay it.

The report says that Mugabe has been struggling with undisclosed health issues for a long while, although he has returned to public life looking healthy. However, his health has deteriorated dramatically in the last months, with some images showing him unable to walk without help during a recent trip to Uganda.

Mugabe’s condition is allegedly so volatile that his physicians don’t leave his side, and the State House has been equipped with state-of-the-art resuscitation facilities.

There are also assertions that ZANU PF officials ’are aware’ of Mugabe’s ill health, and the succession issue has been high on the list of topics recently.

According to the article, Mugabe seems to have surprised everyone by dumping presidential hopefuls and selecting Simba Makoni.

Makoni left the ZANU PF to start his own party, and he seems to have support from both the ZANU PF and its opposition the MDC, as well as the media.

If Mugabe wins the elections in 2011 and institutes Makoni as president, Makoni will most certainly make an impression with the public, while, with Zimbabwe’s economic growth due to increase over the coming five years, he will also take credit for these developments.

This might be bad news for the MDC though, as four years is enough to rebrand the current ruling party.

Once a breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe’s food shortages have been brought on by drought and Mr Mugabe’s crippling land-reform programme.

Speculation regularly surfaces over the health of the aging Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe who has been in power since independence in 1980.


A veld fire has reduced the reconstructed Old Bulawayo capital of King Lobengula to ashes, says Prince Zwide KaLanga Khumalo, a direct descendant of the Ndebele royal family.

The fire, which started late Monday night and blazed until the early hours of Tuesday, destroyed the reconstructed palace of Lobengula, eight beehive huts, an old wagon shed, a house built for Lobengula by missionaries and another built by the Khumalo clan for traditional rituals.

Khumalo said a site where President Robert Mugabe laid a stone in 1993 to commission the reconstruction of the ancient capital was also reduced to ashes.

King Lobengula’s capital was last set ablaze in 1893 when his rule was threatened by advancing missionaries and armed British colonizers. The king then settled at a site in the present-day Sauerstown suburb, north of Bulawayo and current site of the State House, the president’s second home.

Restoration of the capital was mooted in 1993 and Zulu experts from South Africa helped restore the buildings at a cost of millions of dollars.

Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube he blamed the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe for failing to protect the site. The museums department issued no comment.


The United Nations has appointed Alain Noudehou as new UN resident coordinator and resident representative for UNDP in Zimbabwe, replacing the long-serving resident representative Agostinho Zacarias who left in 2009, APA learns here Monday.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said Noudehou takes over as the world body’s humanitarian coordinator with immediate effect following the departure of Zacarias at the end of last year.

Since Zacarias’ departure, Elizabeth Lwanga has served as interim resident representative.

Before coming to Zimbabwe, Noudehou served as UNDP resident representative in Tanzania between 2007 and last month.

He previously served as deputy resident representative in Rwanda from 2004 to early 2007.

He started his UNDP career in Gabon as head of the UN’s Leadership Development Programme between 2002 and 2004.

Prior to his career with UNDP, Noudehou worked for US-based Community Habitat Finance (CHF) International Inc., an international development service provider.

He rose through the ranks from programme officer in 1995 to country director for CHF in South Africa between 1996 and 2000.


Zimbabwe and Mozambique have been listed among the seven countries most vulnerable to the economic impact of natural disasters and unsafe for investors, insurers and doing business, according to a report published here Saturday.

A new research by the UK-based risk intelligence and ratings company Maplecroft said the two African countries are among states regarded as in “extreme risk” to the vagaries of environmental disasters.

The research ranked earthquake-ravaged Haiti as the riskiest country in terms of vulnerability to economic losses from natural disasters.

The seven countries are rated at “extreme risk” in the high frequency index, with Haiti (1), Mozambique (2), Honduras (3), Vanuatu (4), Zimbabwe (5), El Salvador (6) and Nicaragua (7) topping the ranking, the group said.

The Natural Disasters Economic Loss Index (NDELI) published by Maplecroft evaluates the economic impact of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, storms, flooding, drought, landslides, extreme temperatures and epidemics between 1980 and 2010.

The index measures the risk of economic losses from damage costs and deaths caused by natural disasters, reflecting both the direct impact of natural disasters on property and infrastructure plus the indirect impacts on the population.

Although Zimbabwe is less prone to serious natural disasters like earthquakes and flooding, it is the country’s precarious economic climate that makes it particularly vulnerable to loss in the event of such emergencies occurring.

To provide an accurate picture of the global situation, the NDELI is split into two rankings – one measuring the risks to the 87 countries that suffer a high frequency of natural disasters and the other evaluating the 116 countries that experience less than one event per year.

The research also classified a number of industrialized economies, including Italy, Japan, China, US, Spain and France, as “high risk” environments for investors, insurers and business.

Italy was ranked 18th while Japan, China and US were ranked in the top 30 riskiest countries.


President Robert Mugabe’s son, Robert jnr, is said to be causing security nightmares for his personal guards preferring a normal life.

Eye witness at the posh St John’s College in Borrowdale where he attends school, said last Friday Robert Jr had caused mayhem at the school when he drove to the nearby Chisipite shopping centre to buy lunch with his white friend in a bid to get a taste of public life.

“While at the shopping centre the two entered into Born Marche shop where they bought some ice cream, a life Robert is rarely exposed to,” said a source. “It  is at  this  time that the state security, which takes him home for lunch, arrived and discovered that he was nowhere to be found.”

People who reside near the college said there were noises of sirens coming from all directions during that time.

“We thought maybe the president had come for a meeting with the school when we heard noises of his motorcade. Everyone’s attention was drawn to that unusual noise. We quickly rushed to the school and discovered that the state security was asking children about the whereabouts of Robert (jnr) who at that time arrived in a friend’s posh car,” said eye witnesses.

“Robert is always telling us that he is tired of being closely monitored by the security. He told us that he misses a great deal because of confinement and that is why he decided to jump into his friend’s car to go to Chisipite,” said students at the school.

The students said he deliberately left earlier for lunch to avoid his security personnel.

A teacher at the school, who requested not to be named, said the President’s son was making their work difficult because of security agents.

“We have heard that he has on several times been denied getting out with  friends by our security and we are now afraid that he might cause us problems with the state security if he continues avoiding them,”said the teacher.

Robert Jnr, who is said to be doing his upper six at the elite College is normally drove home for lunch by state security every day.


President Mugabe arrived here yesterday to attend a meeting of liberation movements that seeks to find ways of offsetting resurgent neo-colonialism in Africa.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces was met at Julius Nyerere International Airport by the country’s ambassador to Dar-es-Salaam Edzai Chimonyo and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

DPM Mutambara is here to attend the World Economic Forum on Africa.

Soon after his arrival, President Mugabe held closed-door talks with his Tanzanian counterpart, President Jakaya Kikwete.

The meeting of liberation movements begins today.

Countries that have confirmed their participation in addition to Zimbabwe and the hosts are Angola, South Africa and Namibia.

The meeting starts with a session incorporating secretaries-general of the movements, in which Zimbabwe will be represented by Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa.

After that, presidents and leaders of the movements will go into session.

Insiders said the meeting had been long in coming and would focus on how the liberation movements could co-ordinate activities for Africa’s development.

“The last such meeting was in Sandton in South Africa back in 2000.

“At that time, it was already apparent that neo-colonialists were finding inroads with which to subvert Africa’s development.

“The idea here is to come up with ways of countering that subversion and developing our peoples.

“We want to keep the ideals of the liberation movements alive and to ensure they result in tangible benefits to the people of Africa,” one insider said.

President Mugabe is accompanied by ministers

Webster Shamu (Media, Information and Publicity), Emmerson Mnangagwa (Defence), Saviour Kasukuwere (Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment) and other senior Government officials.

President Mugabe was seen off at Harare International Airport by Vice President John Nkomo (who is Acting President), senior Government officials, and service chiefs.

Meanwhile, DPM Mutambara is here to attend the 20th World Economic Forum on Africa.

Zimbabwe will use the meeting to outline to the world the devastating impact of the illegal Western economic sanctions.

Insiders yesterday revealed that the Zimbabwe delegation will use the platform to present to major global economic players the vast business opportunities Zimbabwe has in the mining, agriculture, infrastructure development and manufacturing sectors.

“There will be over 1 000 participants drawn from multilateral financial institutions and United Nations agencies and this is an ideal platform for Zimbabwe to present its case on the issue of sanctions and the country’s investment potential,” an insider said.

Last Thursday, the WEF said 11 African heads of state and government would attend the event to be opened by host President Kikwete.

The forum is being held under the theme “Rethinking Africa’s Growth Strategy”.

The 20th WEF on Africa draws political, business and civic leaders from Africa, Asia and Europe to deliberate on issues affecting the continent.

In a statement, President Kikwete said: “Africa is a continent full of potential.

“Africa has been growing despite the economic instability that is facing the world today.

“We will have the opportunity to examine the strategy of Africa for today to ensure that there is a better tomorrow.”

WEF for Africa director Ms Katherine Tweedie said this year’s forum coincided with the 50th anniversary of the launch of the continent’s struggle for independence.

“It is fitting to celebrate this milestone year by hosting the Africa meeting for the first time in East Africa, with the strong support of His Excellency President Kikwete and the government and business community of Tanzania,” she said.

The Forum’s Young Global Leaders Summit will be held concurrently in Dar es Salaam with over 200 participants.

Discussions will address how Africa is managing relations with key economic partners and South-South co-operation.


Australia has suffered a stunning one-run loss against Zimbabwe in their opening T20 World Cup warm-up game at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia.

Chasing Zimbabwe’s 173 for seven off 20 overs, the ‘unseeded’ Australian team was restricted to 172 for seven, despite an attacking 72 run inning from opener David Warner and 49 from skipper Michael Clarke.

Needing 13 runs from the final over for victory, Australia lost Clarke, bowled from the penultimate delivery, and then Mitchell Johnson was run out off a wide, as the side finished one short of the target, Fox Sports reports.

Earlier in the day, Zimbabwean batsman Elton Chigumbura’s 76 off 35 balls, including six sixes and five fours, had provided the backbone to Zimbabwe’s total.

He also shared a 114-run partnership with Craig Ervine (39) for the fifth wicket.

Australian fast bowler Johnson was the pick of the Oz bowlers claiming 4-23 from his four overs, while Dirk Nannes, Lee and Shane Watson took one wicket apiece.

Australia now has one more warm-up match against local side Windward XI, before Sunday’s opening Group A match against defending champions Pakistan.

Brief Scorecard:

Zimbabwe: 173-7 (Elton Chigumbura 76, Sean Ervine 39; Mitchell Johnson 4-23) Australia: 172-7 (David Warner 72, Michael Clarke 49; Prosper Utseya 2-27). (ANI)


Regardless of what country NATO Training Mission Afghanistan members represent, returning home from their deployment here often means taking some much needed time off to get some rest and spend quality time with the family.

However, for Gunner Kuziva Dapira, a British soldier currently assigned to the Camp Alamo UK Leadership Training Team, time off and rest is not what’s on his agenda after reaching the end of his tour in April.

Dapira is a member of the United Kingdom’s King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, also known as The Troop, and within a month of his returning to London, his unit will be participating in one of Britain’s biggest events – Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday celebration also known as Trooping the Colour.

The Troop is an elite unit of about 100 soldiers, all of whom superb equestrians trained to drive a team of six horses that pull the ‘thirteen pounder’ state saluting gun. Their duties include the firing of royal salutes on royal anniversaries and state occasions, and providing a gun carriage and team of black horses for state and military funerals.

But out of all the ceremonies the unit participates in, Trooping the Colour is the highest honor, according to Dapira.

“Riding in the Queen’s Parade means a lot to the King’s Troop,” he said. “It’s our bread and butter. It’s like playing in the world-cup finals.” He added that out of approximately 100 members of his unit, only 48 actually ride in the parade and that to him it is a high honor to be one of those selected.

Dapira, a Zimbabwe native, has been in Britain for six years and joined the Army three years ago. His duties at the KMTC include providing logistical support to his fellow British soldiers and to train Afghan non-commissioned officers.

Training NCOs for the Afghan National Army is very rewarding because it helps help create more leaders for Afghanistan, he said.

 “Other high-points of this deployment have been working with multi-national forces and also different regiments,” he said. “And learning languages, I’ve learned a little bit of Dari and a little bit of French.”

This will be the second time Dapira rides in the Queen’s Birthday Parade, and he feels confident that regardless of the short time given for him to prepare, he will be ready by June.

“It won’t be hard readjusting to being back on parade because it’s something I have done before,” he said. “While it’s a big change to go from being in a war zone to going back to being in front of a crowd, I’m a professional soldier and I’m trained to adapt to any circumstance.”

Trooping The Colour celebrates the queen’s official birthday and is always held the second or third Saturday of June. Her actual birthday is on April 21, but the ceremony is held in June to in the hope for good weather. The ceremony itself dates back to at least the early 18th century when the flags of the battalion, also referred to as colours, were carried or ‘trooped’ down the ranks so that they could be seen and recognized by the soldiers. The Queen attends in a horse-drawn carriage and the regiments of the Household Division, her personal troops, parade in front of her. More than 1,400 soldiers are on parade, plus 200 horses and more than 400 musicians.


Zimbabwe’s government on Monday denied reports that it had signed an agreement allowing Iran to mine uranium, saying there was no certainty that the southern African state had commercial uranium reserves.

President Robert Mugabe told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Harare last week that Zimbabwe backed Iran’s controversial nuclear programme and accused the West of seeking to punish the two countries for asserting their independence.

But Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube on Monday dismissed a report in Britain’s Daily Telegraph claiming Harare had struck a deal allowing Tehran to mine untapped uranium reserves to secure raw material for its nuclear programme.

The report said Zimbabwe would get oil for access to potential uranium deposits.

“It’s not true. No such agreement was signed,” said Ncube, a minister from a splinter faction of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe’s unity government.

“There is no certainty that Zimbabwe has uranium deposits. You first have to prove that there are uranium deposits and that has not been done,” he told Reuters.

Ahmadinejad was in Zimbabwe last week for a two-day visit and there was no official indication of any link between his trip and Iran’s nuclear programme.

Mugabe has previously said the country holds uranium deposits which have yet to be exploited.

Iran faces a possible new round of United Nations sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. The West accuses Tehran of trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran says it aims only to generate electricity.

Ncube said Zimbabwe and Iran had only signed general cooperation agreements in the fields of energy, science and technology and agriculture but officials from the two countries still had to meet to finalise details of any investment.

Asked whether Zimbabwe would in future consider jointly mining uranium with Iran, Ncube said: “There is no evidence that Zimbabwe has commercial deposits of uranium, so that question does not arise at all.”


Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, officially teed off the Africom Zimbabwe Golf Open at Royal Harare on Wednesday.

A tee off is the official beginning of the tournament, which ends on Saturday.

This is the first time the Prime Minister has officiated at a prestigious sporting event since the signing of a Global Political Agreement.

President Robert Mugabe normally presides over most sporting events. However, the organisers of the Zimbabwe Open, decided to  invite Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai teed off in the pro-am at Royal Harare as the Africom Zimbabwe Open roared into life. He immediately commended the Zimbabwe Open Golf Committee, for a sterling job, given the short period of time that they managed to put this event together.

A field of 144 golfers will play in the revived Zimbabwe Open ,with some top professional golfers, Tony Johstone and Mike Williams who left Zimbabwe at the height of political upheaval, entering the event.

Livingstone Gwata, the managing director FBC Bank and the Zimbabwe Open chairman, said 141 professional would take part in the tournament running from April 21 -24.

The largest number of the golfers will come from the Southern African circuit, the Sunshine Tour, which are bringing 130 golfers. They will play in the Sunshine Tour sanctioned tournament by virtue of their Order of Merit on the tour.The other golfers are composed of professionals and amateurs who qualified through the various qualifying tournaments.

However it is coming entrance of Johnstone who has six European and 22 US tour victories that bring Zimbabwe under the spotlight. The Bulawayo based golfers left the country at the height of the political upheaval in 2000 when the Zanu (PF) grabbed farms from white commercial farmers.

The Zimbabwe Open was a golf tournament on the Sunshine Tour that was last played in 2001. It was first played in 1984 and was part of what was known as the Safari Tour, a collection of events in Africa that were played by professionals based on the European Tour during their winter. As a result, it became an event on the European based Challenge Tour in 1991, where it remained for two seasons before moving onto the FNB Summer Tour, which became the Southern Africa Tour and later the Sunshine Tour.


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