"Fit as a fiddle" Mugabe returns from Singapore

Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:10am GMT

By Nelson Banya

HARARE (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe returned home on Thursday, looking fit, after a trip to Singapore that had ignited speculation the veteran Zimbabwean leader was seriously ill.

The 88-year-old President, who has ruled the southern African country for more than three decades, landed at Harare's main airport in a white chartered plane accompanied by his wife Grace.

A Reuters reporter saw Mugabe joking and laughing with Vice President Joice Mujuru, often touted as his possible successor.

Webster Shamu, the information and publicity minister, blamed western media for spreading false reports about Mugabe's health.

"As you can see, he is fit as a fiddle. Why do we spread rumours? It's all lies told by a press driving an imperialist agenda," he said to a group of reporters at the airport.

Media had speculated that Mugabe had gone to seek vital medical attention in Singapore, where he travelled eight times last year for medical check-ups.

Mugabe did not speak to waiting reporters but is expected to chair a weekly cabinet meeting later on Thursday. The cabinet meeting venue is closed to the media.

Mugabe shares power with political rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in a fragile coalition formed three years ago.   Continued...

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe speaks during a visit to Mimosa Platinum mine about 400km south of the capital Harare, February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
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