Rumours have spread that the dictator is close to death after collapsing in his home last week. He is believed to have been flown to a Singapore, where he is receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

However Zimbawe’s State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi told NewsDay newspaper: “It’s just the wish of our detractors. The president is alive and well.”

Other reports from media outlets state Zimbabwe’s Information Minister Webster Shamu has described the rumours as “a lot of hogwash”.

The initial story given by the Zimbabwean regime was that the 88-year-old had travelled to Asia for his daughter’s enrolment at Singapore University. However this does not begin until September.

Two senior officials for Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party stated that the dictator was in Singapore on an Easter break with his family.

One official told Reuters: “The president is well and away on a private holiday to help his daughter prepare for postgraduate studies, but we are expecting him home this week. But some sick and malicious people are spreading false stories about him being seriously ill while others are saying he is dead or dying out there.”

Rumours that Mugabe was seriously ill were spread after a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last month stated that his prostate cancer had spread to other organs.

The Tehran Times reported yesterday that Mugabe had agreed to hand over power to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, a key ally during the country’s fight for independence in the 1970s.


Image: Getty