Zimbabwe’s Mugabe back in the country after overseas absence

Zimbabwe’s 92-year-old President Robert
Mugabe has arrived home after an
overseas absence that led to concerns
over a health crisis, with witnesses
saying he joked about the latest rumours
of his death.

The world’s oldest head of state returned
to the capital, Harare, on Saturday
morning after leaving a regional summit
early on Tuesday. Flight data showed his
plane went to Dubai after the original
flight path indicated a course toward
Asia. Mugabe has received treatment in
Singapore in the past.

His spokesperson had denied reports
that Mugabe was ill.

Witnesses at the airport said the
president looked cheerful and told
people he had been away attending to
family matters. Mugabe was expected to
address a youth meeting at his ruling
party’s headquarters later on Saturday.

His absence had raised the level of
uncertainly in this southern African
country already in economic and political
turmoil. Frustration has been rising in
Zimbabwe over a plummeting economy
and allegations of government
corruption.

Police on Thursday banned protests in
the capital for two weeks, on the eve of a
demonstration planned by a newly
formed coalition of opposition groups.
Mugabe has been in power since 1980,
and many in Zimbabwe have known no
other leader in their lifetime. He has said
he would run again in elections in 2018.

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