Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe arrives in Singapore for medical treatment

FORMER Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has arrived in Singapore for a medical check-up in what is his first international trip outside the country since being ousted from power last month.


Mr Mugabe, 93, had governed Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and had to be forced out by the military after he refused to go peacefully. In a joint push by the army and his Zanu-PF party, Mr Mugabe was forced to resign after impeachment proceedings were initiated against him and under the terms of a deal entered into, he was allowed to leave office in peace and with dignity.


Apparently, the deal not only provides immunity from prosecution but also allowed the ailing former president to acquire medical treatment abroad at the expense of the state.  Mr Mugabe and his wife Grace have not been seen in public since he was forced to resign after the sudden end to his authoritarian 37-year reign.


George Charamba, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman, said: “He is in Singapore. It’s part of his package as a retired president to travel overseas and he routinely goes to Singapore to meet with his doctors.


 “There is no quest to humiliate or ostracise him. The idea was to extricate him from the clutches of the cabal which had captured him and that has been done so that his legacy comes out shining.”


Zimbabwe's military stepped in on November 14 and ushered Mr Mnangagwa into office after a power struggle with supporters of Grace Mugabe, 52, who had emerged as her husband's chosen successor. Mr Mugabe is accused of brutal repression and bringing the country to economic ruin.


He has been in increasingly frail health and has reportedly battled prostate cancer and in recent years he has made regular trips abroad for undisclosed medical reasons. President Mnangagwa was once one of Mr Mugabe’s closest allies and the ruling Zanu-PF party remains in control of the government.


Mr Mugabe will miss the party’s annual conference in Harare on Friday when President Mnangagwa is expected to be confirmed as its candidate for elections next year. Among other things, the new president has vowed to revive the shattered economy by boosting agricultural production and attracting foreign investment.