african news

By Ray Ndlovu

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party on Monday denied weekend reports that President Robert Mugabe had collapsed due to ill-health.

Mugabe‚ who won a seventh consecutive term in office in July last year‚ will turn 90 next month.

Zanu (PF) deputy director of information Psychology Maziwisa said media reports speculating on Mugabe’s health were meant to cause “false alarm and despondency”.

“Certainly there is nothing new about these reports‚ as we hear about them every year‚” he said. “Our president in very much alive and we will be celebrating his birthday in a month’s time. He is as fit as a fiddle.”

He pointed out that the ruling party was aware of elements in the country that were keen to project Mugabe as unfit to govern‚ adding that at the root of the report were people still bitter about the outcome of the July 31 2013 elections‚ which Zanu (PF) won.

“We’re aware of who these people are and we know about their tactics to try to smear the good name of our president‚” Maziwisa said.

“These are our opponents and critics who have failed dismally in elections. Now they want to use fake individuals to try to cause false alarm and despondency in our country.”

Mugabe‚ who defeated his long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change in the national elections‚ is on his annual holiday break with his family in Asia.

George Charamba‚ Mugabe’s spokesman‚ said he was expected back in Zimbabwe by the middle of January.