It seems to have become a trend to allege the death of Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe at the beginning of every year. It was alleged that the 91 years old President Robert Mugabe had collapsed and died in Singapore. But under the headline, “President well, fine,” the state-run Herald newspaper said stories about Mugabe’s health emerged each year when he took his annual leave outside the country.
The Zimbabwe government on Thursday denied reports of the death of the president. The presidential spokesman, George Charamba told the newspaper:
“You cannot doubt that there will be a story on the President’s alleged death every January.”
He blamed the ZimEye news website for starting the rumours.
“This is the way the website seeks to improve its hits in order to get dirty money… There is a financial incentive to the grim lie,” he said.
According to The Herald, Mugabe was in the “Far East” but did not specify which country.
President Robert Mugabe is apparently the world’s oldest national leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. In spite his age, he has continued to give long speeches in public. He read a speech to Parliament in September apparently unaware that he had delivered the same address a month earlier.
Speculation over his health mounted last year when he tripped and fell down some steps at a televised ceremony. In 2011, WikiLeaks released a 2008 US diplomatic cable saying that Mugabe was reported to have prostate cancer and had less than five years to live.
Wikileaks is an international, non-profit, journalistic organisation, that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources.
Mugabe’s regime has been accused of systematic human rights abuses and overseeing Zimbabwe’s dire economic decline.
The ruling ZANU-PF party has been driven by factionalism for years over Mugabe’s refusal to name a successor. But rumour has it that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is likely to be the next president.