Mugabe in `high spirit’ but recovering from cold, priest says

Catholic priest and long-standing friend of Mugabe, Fidelis Mukonori says ousted Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is in good spirits, though recovering from a touch of cold.

Mukonori said on Thursday that Mugabe was still in his Harare mansion with his wife Grace, whose unpopularity was a catalyst behind a bloodless military coup earlier this month.

“He is at his house in Borrowdale, I talked to him a few days ago and he was in high spirits, he said he was recuperating from the cold but is generally okay,’’ he said.

Mugabe’s sons, Robert Junior and Chatunga, who are known for their lavish playboy lifestyle, are outside the country but Mukonori refused to disclose the exact location.

The 93-year-old’s almost four decades in power were marred by human rights abuses, corruption and the destruction of the country’s once vibrant economy.

Mugabe’s former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as president recently.

While Mnangagwa was quick to hail Mugabe as a father figure and laud his role in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, he also promised a new chapter for the country.

The ruling Zanu-PF party said it would not be calling for the former president’s prosecution over alleged crimes, with some media reporting the Mugabes had been given a multi-million dollar retirement package instead.

“Mugabe is our elder statesman, he deserves respect.

“He is not going to be prosecuted,’’ Zanu PF deputy legal secretary Paul Mangwana told newsmen, refusing to comment on any financial settlement negotiated before Mugabe’s exit. (dpa/NAN)