Mugabe in Singapore for treatment
28 October 2011, 09:36
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has flown secretly to Singapore for medical treatment for the eighth time this year, government sources said, heightening concern over the health of 87-year-old leader.
As he approaches his 32nd year in power, observers say political factions within his Zanu-PF party are jockeying increasingly openly to succeed him as party leader.
The sources, who asked not to be named, said Mugabe and his wife, Grace, flew from Harare on Monday to Johannesburg where they caught a Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore. They said he was expected to return on Sunday.
His spokespeople have declined to comment.
Western diplomatic sources who have recently seen Mugabe say he appears increasingly frail.
While the official version is that Mugabe has been to Singapore for a cataract operation and subsequent check-ups, there are rumours that he has prostate cancer that has spread.
The government sources also reported that Mugabe had been shaken by the killing last week of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Mugabe has repeatedly condemned Nato support for anti-Gaddafi forces.
Political analysts say Zanu-PF faces an uncertain future as the coalition government works slowly towards a new constitution and elections within the next two years.
Opinion surveys rate Zanu-PF way behind the party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's main political rival, with whom he had been forced into a power-sharing deal.