By Costa Nkomo
AILING Vice President (Rtd) General Constantino Chiwenga Monday reportedly phoned President Emmerson Mnangagwa to convey his heroes’ day commemorations message from a Chinese hospital.
Addressing thousands of people who thronged the National Heroes Acre to commemorate Heroes Day Monday, Mnangagwa revealed that he received a phone call from Chiwenga who has been battling an undisclosed ailment since last year.
“May I inform you that this morning I was telephoned by the Honourable Vice President Chiwenga in China conveying his good wishes of this heroes day to you,” Mnangagwa said.
A much healthier Chiwenga, then as Commander Defence Forces, led the coup that toppled former strongman Robert Mugabe in November 2017.
He was almost immediately appointed Vice President by the man he installed.
However, the career soldier has watched his health take a dramatic nosedive particularly after the elections last year amid reports of internal divisions within Zanu PF with Chiwenga being projected as a possible successor to Mnangagwa.
Last week, Mnangagwa said government had made plans to fly Chiwenga’s close relatives to be by his bedside despite claiming the Vice President was on the mend.
“While it is still too early in the treatment process, I am advised that he VP’s condition remains remarkably stable, with the initial strict regimen imposed on him at the time of his admission being gradually eased to allow greater access by close family members,” Mnangagwa said then.
Chiwenga has been in and out of the hospital and has travelled to India, South Africa and is now in China seeking medical treatment.
During the burial of his sister, Margaret Machekabuwe, in Marondera last year, Chiwenga told journalists that the ailment that changed the colour of his skin started during Operation Restore Legacy, the military operation that removed Mugabe from power.
He was responding to wide claims that he was bleaching his skin.