The government is picking up the tab for former president Robert Mugabe, 93, who has flown to Singapore for a medical check-up, his ex-spokesperson said on Thursday.
Mugabe and his wife Grace have not been seen in public since he was forced to resign after a military takeover brought a sudden end to his authoritarian 37-year reign.
“He is in Singapore. It’s part of his package as a retired president to travel overseas. He routinely goes to Singapore to meet with his doctors,” George Charamba told AFP.
Charamba, who is now President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, said that the new government was keen to show respect to Mugabe.
“There is no quest to humiliate or ostracise him,” he said.
“The idea was to extricate him from the clutches of the cabal which had captured him. That has been done so that his legacy comes out shining.”
The military stepped in on November 14 and ushered Mnangagwa into office after a power struggle with supporters of Grace Mugabe, 52, who had emerged as Mugabe’s chosen successor.
Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe from independence in 1980, is accused of brutal repression and bringing the country to economic ruin.
He has been in increasingly frail health and has reportedly battled prostate cancer.
In recent years he has made regular trips abroad for undisclosed medical reasons.
Mnangagwa was formerly one of Mugabe’s closest allies, and the ruling Zanu-PF party remains in control.
Mugabe will miss the party’s annual conference in Harare on Friday when Mnangagwa is expected to be confirmed as its candidate for elections next year.
The new president has vowed to revive the shattered economy by boosting agricultural production and attracting foreign investment.