Events this week have given credence to swirling rumors that Mugabe is sick. According to online flight data, Mugabe landed in Dubai on Wednesday 31 August, 2016 at 7:20am Zimbabwean time, after taking off on a chartered Air Zimbabwe plane.
He departed from Harare International Airport at 10:45pm on Tuesday, only three hours after touching down from Swaziland, where he contrary to tradition left the 36th Sadc Summit before it ended.
I have just had a look at the web site Flightradar and suggest you have a look at it.
Use this link and you can see the route taken by President Mugabe’s flight on Tuesday night. It makes for interesting viewing. If you “play” the flight you will see it takes a route towards Singapore over the Indian Ocean and then takes a sharp turn north – and then ends up in Dubai.
“I am told that the suddenness of the transition from the point where it changes its route to when it lands in Dubai (if you follow the tracking you will understand what I mean) is an indication that the transponder of the aircraft was turned off.” – Opposition politician, David Coltart commented
“What all this means I have no idea but it does appear as if a sudden decision was made to re-route to Dubai on Tuesday night. According to Flightradar the Air Zimbabwe 767 registration Z-WPF is still at Dubai,” Coltart added on his Facebook profile.
Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, yesterday declined to shed light on the purpose of Mugabe’s visit to the Asian country, saying he would rather let the media dwell and delight on “a default explanation” that his boss was ill.
Well-placed sources told Africa Cradle Mugabe landed in Dubai to pick up his family en route to Singapore, where the 92-year old leader has frequented over the past few years to receive medical attention, as his health continues to deteriorate due to advanced age and a punishing work schedule.
However, others insist Mugabe had a scheduled trip to the Middle East on private business.
Before his Monday trip to Swaziland, Mugabe was in Kenya, where he attended the Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development, together with other African leaders.
His continued Asian trips for medical attention have often triggered a storm back home, with opposition political parties and observers saying he was no longer fit to govern the country due to his deteriorating health.
They also blamed Mugabe for running down the country’s health system because he was privileged to get medical attention in foreign countries, while the majority could not afford to access basis health care.
Spokesperson of the main opposition party MDC, Obert Gutu said Mugabe’s trip to Dubai was a serious source of financial leakages for a Treasury that was already broke.
“In as much as we sympathise with Mugabe over his health problems, we urge him to search his soul and conscience, so that he sees that in his current physical shape and going towards 93, it is not good to cling onto power,” he said.
“He should go and rest and allow the nation to move forward in capable hands.” Gutu said Mugabe’s continuous travels were a serious drain to the fiscus.
Jacob Mafume said the Dubai trip showed that Mugabe had lost touch with reality and had misplaced priorities.
“The President is no longer in touch with the priorities of the nation,” he said.
“We need a President, who is in good health, and not one who needs to be mended now and again. We, as a nation, should hang our heads in shame at this display by the one who is supposed to be our chief diplomat,” he said.
Mugabe’s frequent travels to Asia have often sparked a flurry of speculation over his health, but Zanu PF and the government insist the President is in good shape and “as fit as a fiddle”.