By MUGOVE TAFIRENYIKA

VP isn’t sick- Charamba

THE  government says Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has not contracted Covid-19 and is in China for his routine medical check-ups.

This comes amid reports that hundreds of guests were removed from a luxury hotel in Beijing after a member of  Chiwenga’s entourage was found to have been infected by the lethal coronavirus.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba yesterday dismissed the claims as “hogwash as Chiwenga was as fit as a fiddle”.

“The vice president, as you are aware, had a major procedure in China sometime back so his time for review had come. So he went for that particular review and we expect him this week,” Charamba told the Daily News.

“Where is the national media during all this? Why do you always want to listen to the international media?

“Would you be a proud professional who always follows the international media?” a fuming Charamba added.

In 2019 Chiwenga spent almost four months in China, undergoing treatment for an undisclosed serious ailment.

The soon-to-be 65-year-old retired army general — who led the November 2017 military coup which toppled the late former president Robert Mugabe from power — was taken ill in July 2019, before being airlifted abroad for treatment where he spent four months.

Since leading the coup that toppled Mugabe in November 2017, Chiwenga has been a larger-than-life character in the country’s body politic.

However, his health has been a source of concern — with the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander in 2018 tracing his physical woes to the days when he orchestrated Mugabe’s fall.

At one time he said he was suffering from “nhuta”, something he claimed caused his skin to lighten — triggering speculation that he was bleaching his skin.

“It was during that time (the coup days) that I fell ill. I had this skin sickness (nhuta) that affected my whole body from beneath my feet to my back and the journalists started saying I was using skin lightening creams.

“But that was not the case. I was sick. I have decided to talk about it because that is what you see … but you should know that everything that happens comes with a price.

“We then sent everything to South Africa to find out what was causing the sickness, but they failed to treat it.

“It was then that my (late) sister Margaret approached Sister Redemptor (Roman Catholic nun) and was given herbs that I began taking until I was healed.

“But before I took the medication, they also prayed for me,” Chiwenga said at the burial of his sister Margaret. – Daily News