Robert Junior Mugabe recently said his father, the late former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, was in a bad health condition during his last ten years.
He made the remarks during an interview with local media personality Miss V Candy.
Mugabe Junior’s remarks likely represent the first time a family member has opened up about the veteran leader’s struggle with failing health which was a closely guarded secret during his long reign.
Mugabe died in September 2019 aged 95 at the specialist Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore, some three years after being toppled by a military coup.
While in power, the veteran leader would draw criticism from the opposition and commentators over the cost of his regular annual trips to Singapore for medical checkups.
At the time foreign media claimed that the Zimbabwean strongman was receiving treatment for prostate cancer. Gleneagles Hospital is renowned for its specialist cancer services. Said Robert Junior during the interview:
My dad was sick for a long time – over 10 years.
It was a matter of time. So, for those 10 plus years, we knew as a family that dad was sick and [at] any time the doctor can tell us he has a couple of days or months to live.
But that day never came. So I guess within those 10 plus years, a lot was going on; emotional rollercoasters, so we spent as much time with him.
He (Mugabe) came to Singapore for his treatment and that’s when he stayed a couple of months
But those five to six months when he was there, that’s when he was most ill. He wasn’t coming out of bed, he wasn’t walking and he didn’t want to eat. He was sick to the point [where] he was in a wheelchair.
My mom would bath him and I would, at times, come help. It’s a lot seeing someone who used to take care of you at a point where they can’t take care of themselves. It’s painful.
Mugabe was buried at his rural home in Zvimba, Mashonaland West against the government’s wish to have him interred at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare.