President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has said his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, 94, is sick and unable to walk because of ill health adding that Mugabe has been in Singapore for treatment for an undisclosed illness for the past two months.
Mnangagwa became head of state a year ago after Mugabe was ousted following the intervention of the army. Mugabe had been in power for 37 years, first as prime minister, then as president. He led the movement for Zimbabwean independence from white minority rule.
President Mnangagwa was addressing a rally in his predecessor’s home town when he talked about the former leader’s health saying “he is now old. Of course, he now is unable to walk but whatever he asks for we will provide,” the AFP news agency quotes him as saying.
Despite being unable to walk, Mr Mnangagwa said the former leader was feeling better and would be back in the country next week. “We are looking after him. He is the founding father of the nation of Zimbabwe. He is our founding father of free Zimbabwe,” the president said.
The government is paying for Mr Mugabe’s treatment. After taking over from him last year, Mnangagwa won a disputed presidential election in July.