(Photo: President Robert Mugabe is pictured here with wife, Grace, AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Despite reports that suggest otherwise, 87-year-old Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe denied that he and his wife, Grace, who is 45, are ill.
In fact, the two exercise regularly and are both in “sound health,” he told a Zimbabwean newspaper Thursday.
“I fall sick if I don’t exercise,” he said. “For now I am as good as my age says I must be.”
On Tuesday, South African officials said that Mugabe’s health problems are preventing attempts at resolving his nation’s political crisis, the Associated Press reports. The longtime leader is currently in a shaky coalition government with opposition leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
News reports on his health pointed to his frequent trips abroad to receive constant medical treatment.
However, he claims that he only had cataract surgery in Singapore and wasn’t traveling back and forth for prostate cancer treatment, as was indicated. His frequent trips to the area were to visit his daughter who is studying in Hong Kong, he says.
His wife was in China undergoing therapy for a dislocated hip, not for a sickness, and is also attending college there, he says.
At his advanced age, many, even those in his own party, are reportedly pushing for him to announce a retirement date. He’s also been seen as looking frail publically, according to reports. But he believes he can still lead effectively and even wanted presidential elections as early as this year (an idea squashed by mediators who believed it to be way too soon to conduct a fair vote).
Mugabe is due to attend a regional summit in Namibia Friday.