THE recent issue regarding Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa’s health has put the spotlight on other government and political leaders.
Dabengwa had to be rushed to India earlier this week to receive further medical treatment after a previous surgical operation in South Africa.
With the rumour mill going into overdrive regarding the former liberation fighter’s health after pictures of him being moved on a wheelchair surfaced on social media, the Dumiso Dabengwa Foundation (DDF) quickly moved in to clarify the matter.
According to DDF, the 79-year-old former government minister was suffering from fatigue and that is the reason why he requested for a wheelchair while moving in transit between Johannesburg, Harare and New Delhi. The statement from Dabengwa’s foundation clearly articulated and answered the questions on Zimbabweans’ minds after the pictures surfaced on social media.
Of course, health matters should always be treated with the uttermost confidentiality they deserve but when one is a public figure there is some need to remove the cloak of secrecy.
There is no need to go into the specifics of the health condition but some relevant information is necessary to release to the public.
However, over the years, most Zimbabwean political and government leaders have made it a point of nicodemously sneaking out of the country to seek medical attention to far-away places.
Former president Robert Mugabe mastered this art as he would just vanish before he would emerge from exclusive medical centres in Singapore and Malaysia.
There was virtually little information coming from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) leaving Zimbabweans to rely on the rumour mill to check up on Mugabe’s health.
It was no surprise that there were many hoaxes of Mugabe’s death during his later years in office because information from the responsible authorities always came in dribs and drabs.
What current President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his two deputies Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi should realise is that they are now public figures. The spotlight is now firmly directed at their lives the moment they assumed office after the November 2017 coup that toppled Mugabe.
Whenever they travel out of the country on medical grounds, the people of Zimbabwe have the right to know the purpose of the trip since they will be using public funds.
However, it seems Mnangagwa and his colleagues are following Mugabe’s cue regarding their health matters and Zimbabweans have no option but to bank on the grapevine.