Zimbabwe's Mugabe suffering from prostate cancer: leak

5th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has prostate cancer and was advised by doctors in 2008 that he had less than five years to live, a leaked US diplomatic cable said.

"Gideon Gono, governor for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) told the ambassador on June 4 (2008) that President Mugabe has prostate cancer that has metastasized, and according to doctors will cause his death in three to five years," the cable said.

"According to Gono, Mugabe's doctor recommended he cut back on his activities," said the cable released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks last week.

The meeting between then-ambassador James McGee and Gono took place as Mugabe was preparing for a presidential run-off with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in a violent election that failed after Tsvangirai pulled out due to deadly attacks on his supporters.

In another Wikileaks cable Gono told McGee on July 1, 2008 that Mugabe was physically "weak."

"Gono said Mugabe was physically weak. Despite a strong public face, he had difficulty getting out of his chair," the cable said.

Mugabe, 87, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, has scoffed at rumours that he is sick.

He has repeatedly visited Singapore this year, with his spokesman saying he had gone to have an eye cataract removed, amid repeated media reports that he was suffering from cancer.

The veteran's leader's wife, Grace was also flown to Singapore for a check up after she reportedly injured her hip.

Gono denied in Zimbabwe media Monday that he had ever said that Mugabe has prostate cancer.

"It's a lie. I wouldn't even dare talk about that," Gono is quoted as saying by the independent Newsday newspaper.

"It is crap to even waste time commenting on the rogue ambassador's opinions, fictional mind or what kind of grass he had smoked as he was penning his masters," Gono said.

"By attempting to quote me on awkward topics, these guys were trying to authenticate their pre-gathered, pre-conceived notions about a particular matter to add credibility to their imaginations."

Mugabe's health has been cited as one reason that a faction of his ZANU-PF party has pushed to hold new elections as soon as possible.

Mugabe has already been named as the party's candidate for the polls, which he said at the weekend should be held in early 2012.

© 2011 AFP

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