President Robert Mugabe has attributed his long life to God. At 89 and turning 90 in just about a month, Mugabe has now outlived his two sisters and three brothers who are all late.
In his eulogy at the burial of his late sister Bridget who died on Sunday after almost four years in coma, Mugabe said he could not explain why he had survived longer than all his siblings.
“Our uncles vana Zvimba (Chief Zvimba) you might ask why she has died and why I have survived more than the others. I do not have an explanation for that It is God’s will. She (Bridget) did not die because we did not try to save her life,” said Mugabe who explained the family had done all it could to save her.
As if to confirm that he was still alive and kicking, Mugabe addressed hundreds gathered for Bridget’s funeral for more than an hour in the searing summer heat.
Rumours of Mugabe being ‘sick and on his deathbed’ had become synonymous with his annual leave, usually taken between December and end of January each year.
He appeared in public for the first time in several weeks on Sunday to mourn the death of his sister, ending speculation that he may have been bed-ridden through ‘declining health.’
Though looking dejected he showed no visible signs of ill health as he greeted senior party officials and spoke of his sister’s life.
And as with previous rounds of speculation, his handlers dismissed the rumours as baseless. Mugabe has denied that previous trips to Singapore were for prostate cancer treatment, at one time claiming he had been in the Far East for an eye cataract removal.
Meanwhile Bridget’s white casket was draped with the national flag and carried by military pall bearers after she was declared a liberation war heroine. Zanu PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa then explained that the party leadership had met and decided that she be accorded the status.
Mugabe cut short his holiday in the Far East reportedly to attend to his dying sister. He described his last moments with Bridget.
“I visited her on Saturday and arrived as nurses packed up their staff. They had just performed a blood transfusion because doctors had said her blood level was low. I stayed for 30 minutes but she was breathing rapidly and having palpitations.
“Then on Sunday I received a call from doctors that she had passed on,” a deflated Mugabe said.
He talked about his childhood, neglect by his father for a decade and his constant altercations with white people.
“My brothers and father were christened angelic names like Gabriel (father), Michael, and Raphael. People sometimes ask me why I get angry with whites and I tell them because I am not an angel,” said a giggling Mugabe.