Zimbabwe’s Vice President, Army General Constantino Chiwenga has been ordered to take leave as his health continues to deteriorate. The Vice President’s health started deteriorating in 2017 during the coup when his skin discolored fueling rumors that he was using bleaching creams.
He later refuted these claims saying that he suffered from “nhuta” a condition that causes skin lightening. In October 2018, he started losing weight while experiencing swelling in his hands. He later attributed these symptoms to idiopathic esophageal stricture which prevents him from taking in food or vomiting. So he spent the better part of 2019 receiving medical care in both China and South Africa.
In November 2019, the general returned to Zimbabwe after spending 4 months receiving medical care. “I feel strong and raring to go back to work. Everything possible was done. They left no stone unturned. I am very fit and happy,” Chiwenga said in a press statement after his return home. He claimed Chinese doctors had aided his full recovery.
Speculation that the Vice president’s health woes have returned started a few months later when the public noticed that he was absent in some public gatherings where he was supposed to be on duty.
Last week he failed to attend a field day hosted by President Mnangagwa at Pricabe Farm where Minister of Defence Oppah Muchunguri covered for him. “What I know is that he complained of fatigue and is resting at his home,” Presidential Spokesperson Goerge Charamba said when asked about the absence of Chiwenga during the field day.
While rumors claim that the Vice President has been airlifted to China in another medical emergency, official communication is that he has taken leave and is resting at his home.