Zimbabwe VP returns after months of medical care in China

FILE IMAGE: Zimbabwe's vice president Constantino Chiwenga speaks at a mining investment conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, on February 28 2018.
FILE IMAGE: Zimbabwe's vice president Constantino Chiwenga speaks at a mining investment conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, on February 28 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

Zimbabwe's Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who led the ousting of Robert Mugabe, returned home Saturday, four months after he was airlifted to China for medical care, state media reported.

Chiwenga, 63, who is seen as a major power-broker in Zimbabwean politics, had been in and out of hospital since the start of this year.

In July, the government said he was being flown to China for "further tests" after he had been hospitalised in neighbouring South Africa.

His ailment has not been disclosed.

Zimbabwe's public health services have practically collapsed and more than 400 doctors have been sacked in recent weeks after they stopped going to work saying their salaries - decimated by hyperinflation - were not even enough for the commute to hospitals.

Those Zimbabweans who can afford it seek treatment in South Africa or elsewhere.

Ex-president Robert Mugabe died in September in Singapore where he had been receving treatment for five months.

Chiwenga was welcomed back by the Chinese deputy ambassador to Harare Zhao Baogang, according to state broadcaster ZBC.

A video clip of his airport arrival shared on social media, showed no senior government official among the delegation receiving him when he stepped off a Chinese aircraft.

The then army chief led the military takeover that ended Mugabe's 37-year rule in 2017.

 

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