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92-year-old Mugabe gets his first grandchild

Apr 19 '16 | By La Afrique Media | Views: 142 | Comments: 0

92-year-old Mugabe gets his first grandchild

Harare – Zimbabwe’s 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe’s first grandchild, a boy, was born in Asia this week and not in Zimbabwe.

His only daughter Bona, married to a Zimbabwe pilot, Simba Chikowore, chose to have her child far from home.

Bona’s mother Grace was with her at the birth which was said by some Zimbabwe media to have been in Dubai. Others said the baby was born in Singapore.

No official announcement has yet been made.

Bona and Simba were married in a lavish wedding in 2014 and live in one of her father’s homes in Harare.

Mugabe’s three children with Grace were all born in Harare, but since then the family has chosen to have medical care in Asia, usually Singapore.

Zimbabwe’s once excellent public medical facilities collapsed more then a decade ago. But there are still several adequate private hospitals with qualified medical personnel in Harare.

Mugabe has had several operations and regular check-ups at a five-star hospital in Singapore. He usually arranges an official visit to Asia and then calls in to see his doctors in Singapore. Mugabe travels on one of Air Zimbabwe’s two Boeing 767s.

Airline insiders say each trip costs at least R12 million which is paid out of the president’s large, unaudited presidential budget. This income from the president’s office is the main contributor towards keeping bankrupt Air Zimbabwe in the air.

Earlier this year Mugabe said he was going to India but didn’t arrive and stayed in Singapore for medical attention. He also went to Japan on an official visit last month, and also stopped off in Singapore. This was his second visit to Japan in the past eight months.

Jacob Mafume, spokesman for the People’s Democratic Party, and Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC opposition party both criticised the first family’s rejection of heatlh care at home.

“This is the one (Mugabe) who claims that Africa is for Africans and Zimbabwe is his, yet his grandchild will by choice not even be a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth. It just shows his hypocrisy,” Mafume said.

Mugabe’s first child, a son, with his late wife Sally, died of malaria in Ghana 50 years ago, while Mugabe was in detention in Rhodesia.

Mugabe is in Harare at present.

Monday is the 36th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence, which this year is taking place against ever more gloomy economic realities, such as the shortage of US dollar notes at the banks.

Zimbabwe chose to use mainly US notes after its own currency collapsed in 2008.

Bankers say the shortage of notes is because Zimbabwe does not export enough to cover imports. But they predict the shortage will diminish soon as revenue from tobacco sales begins coming in.

The Sunday Mail also reported that Zimbabwe had raised a loan from the Africa Export-Import Bank.

But Zimbabwe imports about double the value of its exports and cannot pay its foreign debt.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said last week some Zimbabweans were illegally exporting US dollar notes to South Africa.

Last Friday, the largest building society in Zimbabwe’s second city Bulawayo was limiting cash withdrawals to R300 at a time.

Last week finance minister Patrick Chinamasa was in Washington at the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting, where he said he hoped to begin borrowing again after settling Zimbabwe’s long outstanding debt with the IMF.

source: IOL

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