PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe once asked for Defence Minister, Sydney Sekeramayi to his “deathbed” as he feared he could succumb to a food poisoning induced diarrhoea attack which condemned him to his bed for two weeks.
This was revealed Saturday by the First Lady, Grace Mugabe while trying to distance the first couple from food poisoning claims which saw Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa airlifted to South Africa for a week-long treatment last month.
Mnangagwa suffered severe diarrhoea with claims he experienced stomach problems after eating ice-cream served on Zanu PF VIPs during President Mugabe’s youth interface rally in Gwanda last month.
Following the incident, the first couple has gone to great lengths to try and plead their innocence in a matter that as betrayed growing Zanu PF paranoia among feuding politicians within President Mugabe’s beleaguered party.
But Grace, in attempts to distance the first couple from assassination claims, revealed more than necessary, inadvertently telling all and sundry Mugabe could be considering Sekeramayi for successor.
Grace rebuked Mnangagwa for maintaining his silence while his loyalists continued to peddle claims of an attempt on his life apparently by the Mugabes who have never hidden their displeasure at alleged coup attempts by the embattled VP.
“We also fall sick a lot but do not make any noise about it,” Grace said, adding that President Mugabe once suffered food poisoning at Edna Madzongwe’s home when the first couple had gone to her Manicaland home to commiserate with the Senate President over the loss of her husband.
“When we got there, we had only spent five minutes before my husband started vomiting and sweating,” Grace said.
“When we returned home, he started experiencing diarrhoea up to a time he was given medication intravenously.
“He spent two weeks experiencing diarrhoea but we never made noise about it.”
Grace, who did not reveal the time of the ordeal, said President Mugabe called for Sekeramayi as he felt it in him he could die of the ailment.
“My husband asked me to call Sekeramayi to come and see him before he died and I called Sekeramayi who entered his bedroom when he (Mugabe) was hardly able to wake up from his bed. That’s the truth. But we never made noise and we never accused anyone of bewitching my husband.
“My husband went through food poisoning for sure. He ate food in Manicaland but we never went publicly about it,” Grace said.
The garrulous First Lady said she also experienced food poisoning in 2013 and lost five kilogrammes of body weight in a single night but never accused anyone of attempting to kill her.
She said her foot was also accidentally run over by the Presidential Limousine in at the Harare International Airport in July this year but she never accused anyone of instructing the Presidential chauffer cause her injury.
But her revelations exposed President Mugabe’s vulnerability while also revealing Sekeramayi was, after all, the Zimbabwean leader’s closest confidante and most probably his preferred successor.
Until quite recently Sekeramayi was a presidential dark horse with everything pointing to a Mnangagwa takeover when Mugabe decides to surrender power or dies in office.
Sekeramayi’s name was thrown into the Zanu PF succession matrix at Dr Ibbo Mandaza’s SAPES Trust policy dialogue forum as a suitable successor for President by Higher and tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo June this year.
Moyo is kingpin for Generation 40, a Zanu PF faction comprising so-called young Turks who are tussling for party control with Vice President Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste.
Grace has also been importuning her aging husband to name his successor.
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