COLOGNE – In a development opening the floodgates for candidates both in the ruling Zanu PF party and opposition to contest the watershed 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections, President Robert Mugabe, is officially not going to run for office, after reportedly being advised to drop out of the race by his Asian medical doctors, Spotlight Zimbabwe reported.
Although Mugabe’s administration has put up a brave face to endorse him as the ruling party’s candidate for 2018, with top officials falling over each other to shower him with praise and calls for a life presidency, government insiders close to the Office of the President and Cabinet, have revealed that the ailing Zanu PF strongman is not going to stand for re-election, and that a “shock announcement” in this regard will be made at the appropriate time.
The country is due to hold it’s next harmonised elections by July 22 2018, in line with electoral laws enshrined in the new Constitution.
Mugabe has over the years endured a cocktail of health woes, including eye cataract problems, reported prostate cancer and paining swollen feet. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world.
“The President’s medical records are classified and private,” said a senior official with links to his office. “I cannot disclose anything, but he (Mugabe) has a clean bill of health at the moment. However he is not going to contest the coming elections, after being told by doctors that the campaigning alone will take a heavy toll on him. You will soon find out for yourselves, but the long and short of it is that he is already out of that race.”
As his advanced age seems to be affecting his pressing work schedule, Mugabe in April this year reportedly flew in four doctors from Singapore to attend to him ahead of the Heroes Day and Defence Forces Day commemorations. The nonagenarian is now a prominent health tourist, at the opulent Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore.
It has also come to light, that the President had also drastically reduced his daily working routine to 30-minute afternoon sessions. The revelation was recently made by a Japanese columnist, Ken Yamamoto, who is believed to have access to state secrets around Mugabe and his regime.
“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,” Yamamoto has been quoted by the media as saying.
Mugabe is set to go for another round of medicals in Singapore, Hong Kong or Malaysia when he goes for his annual Christmas holiday with his family in December. Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is expected to be acting president until Mugabe comes back home at the end of January in 2017. Intelligence sources have hinted that, it could be possible that VP Mnangagwa before then could be President and running the country to finish off Mugabe’s term.
Spotlight Zimbabwe also claims that it been told and can put it on record that the 2018 make or break presidential ballot is going to pit Mnangagwa against former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai. Opposition legislators from the MDC last week told this publication, that ex-VP Joice Mujuru and her Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), will eventually come around in support of Tsvangirai. However Mujuru is expected to have his chosen party officials independently running for parliament against Tsvangirai and the ruling party.