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Robert Mugabe died in Singapore on 6 September 2019.

The health status of president Robert Mugabe and first Secretary of ZANU PF has been a talking point in various episodes in the history of Zimbabwe. In many instances, there were rumours and speculation of Mugabe's failing health and some went to the extent of claiming that he was suffering from chronic prostate cancer. Furthermore, death rumours also circulated several times raising concerns over the well being of the Mugabe who has been in power since 1980.

Eye Cataracts

Robert Mugabe's Eyes Closely Pictured

The curse of poor eye sight which comes with old age has also affected the revolutionary figure and nonagenarian president of Zimbabwe. Mugabe has openly admitted that he has for years been suffering from cataracts which affected his right eye. For this , he regularly travels Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore for medical check ups and treatment. There were reports that the hospital is quite expensive as it charges a minimum of USD$8 000 for high profile patients. Mugabe has been visiting Singapore for treatment since 2011, but his trips have been increasing with each passing year, suggesting a deteriorating health condition. He has visited the Far East country three times already this year, raising serious doubts over his fitness to continue ruling Zimbabwe at a time the country faces a resurgent economic crisis.[1]

Cancer Rumours

Due to the failure of the first family tom openly discuss Mugabe's ailments, the local media has been on a crusade of rumours and speculating that Mugabe is suffering from other diseases outsides the eye cataracts.[2] Thus there are rumours circulating in the local media that Mugabe is also suffering from chronic prostate cancer which usually affects people of old age like him. The rumours began to circulate after his Singapore tour in 2014 where he is said to have visited Parkway Cancer Centre, which offers “comprehensive cancer treatment with a highly skilled, multi-disciplinary team comprising consultant medical specialists, nurses, counsellors and other para-medical professionals to meet the specific needs of cancer patients”.[1] In 2011, international media reported that Mugabe underwent emergency surgery in Malaysia in 2011 after his prostate cancer had intensified.[3] He was however quick to recover and came back to Zimbabwe weeks after in good shape.

Fertility Problems

It is believed that Mugabe was inhumanely tortured by the Rhodesian Security Forces at the instigation of Ian Smith. He was tortured during the time he was in prison between 1964 and 1975 after he was arrested and convicted of organising guerrilla movements. It is believed that the torture involved beating of the genitals which resulted in him losing his fertility. This holds water considering the fact that Mugabe was not able to father a child with his first wife Sally Mugabe until her death in 1992. However, in the late 1980s, Mugabe is believed to have sought medical attention in the eastern countries where he underwent surgery to allow him to reproduce.

Mugabe being Assisted to Walk

On various occasions, Mugabe has been caught in the public struggling to walk on his own. In some instances such as national occasions, and international conference, the nonagenarian leaders has been caught on camera asleep and this has resulted in concern over the state of health. However, there has been a general consensus that his health has been deteriorating over time. This curse of old age which brings about various illnesses and diseases such as poor eye sight, poor memory, resistance to drugs and amnesia seems to have affected Mugabe’s well being.

Robert Mugabe and his Wife Grace Entering a Hospital in Singapore in 2014


  1. 1.0 1.1 O. Hagare and H. Moyo, Mugabe in Singapore,Zimbabwe Independent, published:23 May 2014,retrieved:7 Jan 2010"
  2. , Robert Mugabe Prostate Cancer,Facebook, retrieved:6 Jan 2015"
  3. P. Thornycroft, Robert Mugabe has surgery in Malaysia,The Telegraph, published:16 Jan 2011,retrieved:7 Jan 2015"