President Mugabe appeared to be highly alert and jocular, he looked like he was experiencing difficulties with his right eye while delivering his speech during national commemorations to mark Zimbabwe’s 34th Independence Day at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Friday.
Throughout his one and half hour long speech, the president seemed uneasy with his right eye and was forced to remove his spectacles at least three times. He then spoke for a long time without glasses. Mugabe reportedly had cataract surgery in Singapore in January 2011 and has made several other trips to the Asian country thereafter for checkups. In November last year, Mugabe flew to Singapore, after another visit in June, sparking speculation about his health.
Government officials said Mugabe had gone for a ‘routine eye check’. This followed several visits in 2011 and succeeding years reportedly for the same eye problem.
When he flew again to Singapore on the eve of his 90th birthday celebrations this year, his spokesperson George Charamba revealed that he had gone for check-ups.
“He is going for the second eye procedure, the right eye was operated on, so he is now going for the second operation,” Charamba was quoted as saying.
“This is a routine check-up, a routine cataract operation for his left eye whose date was set down more than a year ago and the president has gone to fulfill that appointment.”
But it was the same right eye that seemed to have given Mugabe problems on Friday. It appeared as if the eye was struggling to wink and while at times it was not opening at all.
Mugabe’s health concerns had been a subject of speculation each time he flew out of the country for health checkups. His critics claimed he was visiting the Asian country for prostate cancer treatment.