Aircraft with Chiwenga on board develops snag, grounded in India

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NEW DELHI, India – An aircraft with Zimbabwean vice president Constantino Chiwenga and his delegation on board developed a snag at IGI Airport on Friday when the dignitaries were about to fly back to their country.

According to sources, the Boeing 737 (A6-RJX) taxied out at 7 pm for taking off for Zimbabwe. However, soon afterwards it developed a snag and then returned to the terminal at 7:45 pm.

The non schedule flight was operating with a call sign RO-J005. The B737-700 is over two decade old.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga is still being treated in India contrary to social media claims that he is back in the country, a top government official has said.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba yesterday refuted  claims that Chiwenga who  was recently flown to India where he is receiving treatment for a yet to be disclosed ailment had returned to the country in hot haste following news that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had purged his allies in the military.

In Chiwenga’s absence, Mnangagwa has purged top military commanders suspected to be aligned to his ailing deputy in a move seen as consolidating his hold on power amid reports of fresh factional fights in Zanu PF.

Responding to the claims Charamba dismissed them as mere speculation.

“You are following what you are reading on the social media but what did the president (Emmerson Mnangagwa) say regarding that? That is the same situation,” Charamba said adding; “you will be told if there is anything to be told”.

This was after he was pressed to give an update on the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief’s health.

Last Saturday, Mnangagwa told Zanu PF supporters at a rally in Mwenezi, South of Masvingo that Chiwenga was still not back at work while Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri is also indisposed.

“As you can see, I have only Vice President Kembo Mohadi to assist me, the other vice president, General Chiwenga, is not feeling well.

“So, that is why he is not with us here. We thought it would be important to officially make this announcement because these are our senior politburo members.

“The national chairperson (Muchinguri-Kashiri) is also not here. She had to receive her regular treatment for the injuries she suffered during the bomb explosion.

When the bombing incident happened in Bulawayo…Chinomona and…Mohadi also got injured, but it’s good that we have them here,” said Mnangagwa.

His other deputy Mohadi has also not been well while Mnangagwa is also not in the best of health after being poisoned in the bitter succession struggle that rocked the ruling Zanu PF party before the November 2017 coup fronted by Chiwenga.

Chiwenga was whisked out of the country two weeks ago after his health deteriorated.

“Deputy information minister Energy Mutodi claimed that Chiwenga was being treated for a “stomach ailment” and was expected in the country “soon.”

Muchinguri-Kashiri was injured in last year’s pre-election Bulawayo bombing incident and Mnangagwa said she had gone for “check-ups”.