Chiwenga opened up on the complexion of his skin. A section of Zimbabweans had speculated that him and his wife Marry Chiwenga were applying skin lightening creams.
Chiwenga said the skin disease called nhuta in Shona, could not be treated by medical professionals in South Africa where samples had been taken.
He said the ailment started when he together with other securocrats launched Operation Restore Legacy. He said:
It was during that time that I fell ill. I had this skin sickness (nhuta) that affected my whole body from beneath my feet to my back and the journalists started saying I was using skin lightening creams, but that was not the case. I was sick.
Chiwenga said the disease also affected Marry. When he revealed details of the ailment he implied that he had been bewitched for spearheading the ouster of Robert Mugabe. He said:
I have decided to talk about it because that is what you see, but you should know that everything that happens comes with a price.
His late sister Margaret approached Sister Redemptor (Roman Catholic nun) and was given herbs that helped treat the ailment. Chiwenga said:
It was then that my (late) sister Margaret approached Sister Redemptor (Roman Catholic nun) and was given herbs that I began taking until I was healed. But before I took the medication they also prayed for me. This is what had affected me and had also affected my wife.
On 3 February 2019, Chiwenga was flown to a Cape Town medical facility after a health emergency. It was not disclosed what the ailment was. Chiwenga was forced to prematurely abandon his treatment in South Africa 2 days later following public protests. After attending a Cabinet meeting on 5 February in Harare where he looked gaunt and pale, he told the state broadcaster ZBC that he was well, and accused the media of wishing him dead.
On 7 February, Chiwenga was flown out to India to continue treatment. The government was initially silent about his whereabouts and health condition but on 10 February, the then Deputy Information Minister, Energy Mutodi acknowledged that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga was indeed in India where he is receiving treatment for an abdominal ailment.
On 16 February 2019, President Mnangagwa also acknowledged that Chiwenga was ill and receiving treatment in India. He returned to Zimbabwe on 23 February 2019.
The former Zimbabwe National Army General was airlifted to China from South Africa in July 2019 and underwent a life-saving yet risky operation at a top Beijing hospital.
Chiwenga was unable to eat, resulting in him becoming emaciated due to illness and lack of food.
On 23 November 2019, Chiwenga returned home after a successful operation in China and was welcomed back by the Chinese Deputy Ambassador Zhao Baogang at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and his relatives.
- Twitter, , 'Zimpapers Twitter', Published: 23 November 2019, Retrieved: 23 November 2019