Former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai has declared himself fit enough to challenge President Robert Mugabe in next year’s elections, dismissing reports that he was recently given six months to live by his doctors.
By Everson Mushava
Tsvangirai, who was diagnosed with cancer of the colon in April last year, told Voice of America’s Studio 7 that rumours that he would die soon were ‘fake news peddled by his rivals ahead of next year’s elections.
Rumours about the MDC-T leader’s health have been circulating on online publications and social media, including WhatsApp, but in the interview he said he was responding well to treatment.
“I am feeling fine, I am responding well to treatment,” he said. He added; “This misrepresentation [that he has months to live] is meant to create a certain impression that Tsvangirai is not able to go to the next election.”
The former trade unionist said he was confident a coalition of opposition parties would be in place soon and he was ready for 2018.
“You know I am undergoing treatment and it is not a new thing, the only surprise is when you see people blow it out of proportion and mistake treatment for a death sentence,” he added.
“You know it is inhuman to do that. I am still fine. I am responding well to treatment.
“It takes time but as you know, all treatments have a process. That is how I feel. All this talk that I am going to die in six months, I am bed-ridden, is nothing but false.”
He added: “Those who are coming here every day and are engaging with me know the state of health I am in.
“They want to make my health an election issue and unfortunately, they will not succeed. So, Mr Tsvangirai is raring to go come 2018.”
Despite Tsvangirai’s statements, Small and Medium Enterprise minister Sithembiso Nyoni yesterday latched onto the rumour, telling Zanu PF supporters in Mutare that he once travelled to South Africa with “the ailing leader.”
“I want to gossip, but don’t tell people what l will say,” Nyoni said.
“This happened recently when l boarded a plane going to South Africa. l met an old man struggling to walk with a stick we gave him, he was struggling to board the plane.”
“He also had the wife we gave to him, l just looked and said who is this ailing man.
“The man was saying he does not have money to be treated but he was given the money by this party [Zanu PF]. You see, President Robert Mugabe has got a heart, he always wants to help.”
Tsvangirai is married to Elizabeth Macheka, daughter of a Zanu PF member Joseph Macheka, and has been frequenting South Africa for treatment.
Last year, Mugabe reportedly helped Tsvangirai to get money from government to pay his medical bills. Mugabe himself has been frequenting Singapore for treatment for an undisclosed ailment.
He has travelled to the Asian city state at least three times this year, with his last trip having taken place over a week ago.
Mugabe was forced to cancel two public engagements during the week he was receiving treatment in Singapore, which included a rally organised by Zanu PF that eventually took place in Lupane last Friday. – The Standard