THE presidency has rejected media reports this week claiming Grace Mugabe was in a coma after failing to return home from the First Family’s extended annual holiday in the Far East.
President Robert Mugabe, 91 this month, told reporters when he arrived back in Harare on January 22 that his 49-year-old wife had undergone an appendectomy.
The veteran leader added that Grace had been discharged from hospital two days earlier but would remain abroad recuperating. She is there, more than two weeks later.
However, presidential spokesman George Charamba dismissed online reports claiming her condition had deteriorated and that she was possibly in a coma.
“There is nothing like that,” Charamba told a local weekly. “It is those reports that are in a coma.”
But her absence appears to have delayed ousted Zanu PF secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa’s disciplinary hearing which could result in his expulsion from the ruling party.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo admitted Monday that there was no meaningful progress subsequent to the January 28 politburo meeting which recommended that Mutasa should face the music for alleged indiscipline.
Nearly two weeks down the line, some of the Zanu PF disciplinary committee members are said to be too busy with foreign tasks to start dealing with Mutasa.
“I don’t know the progress of the hearing. What l know is that they were supposed to be meeting soon but some of them are out of the country,” Moyo told NewZimbabwe.com Monday when asked about progress regarding Mutasa’s hearing.
Mutasa’s political ambitions dramatically went up in smoke when Zanu PF hawks led by the First Lady turned the heat on politicians linked to ousted Vice president Joice Mujuru over an alleged plot to dethrone President Mugabe just before the December elective congress.
His crime was to challenge the credibility of the congress which saw rivals who joined Grace during her campaign for their purge rewarded with top posts by the first family.
Having ruffled many feathers within the party including those of the President during subsequent interviews with the press, Mutasa’s disciplinary proceedings were widely expected to take off with speed.
But SK Moyo said no meaningful progress has been achieved on that front.
He however refused to disclose the names of the absentees among a committee that comprises Vice President Phekelezela Mphoko, Legal Affairs secretary Patrick Chinamasa, political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, youth league secretary Pupurai Togarepi and security secretary Kembo Mohadi.
“No, I can’t tell you who is in or out of the country; what you have to know is that some of them are out of the country,” Moyo said.
Attempts were however, made to reach Chinamasa and Kasukuwere whose mobiles were both unreachable. It could not be readily verified if the two were among the lot that was said to be abroad.
But while the whereabouts of the rest of the team members are a matter of speculation, it is the lengthy absence of the First Lady has raised eyebrows.