Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (R) and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa attend a youth interface rally in Gweru, Zimbabwe, Sept. 1, 2017. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Friday his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa is now fit and strong after battling illness a few weeks ago. Mugabe made the remark while addressing the seventh youth interface rally in Gweru, Midlands Province. (Xinhua/Stringer)
HARARE, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Friday his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa is now fit and strong after battling illness a few weeks ago.
Mugabe urged the nation to desist from speculating about the Vice President's illness, saying the VP was not poisoned as speculated by others who claim that he fell sick after eating ice cream from a dairy company owned by the First Family.
He also lashed out at those alleging witchcraft on the illness of the VP.
"The VP is now fit again and back. He is now strong. He is back to normal," Mugabe said while addressing his seventh youth interface rally in Gweru, Midlands Province.
Mugabe said he met Mnangagwa's medical doctor from South Africa in Harare this week who told him that the VP's illness was not due to food poisoning.
The doctors were still carrying out further research to ascertain the cause of the illness, Mugabe said.
Mnangagwa suffered a severe bout of vomiting and diarrhea while attending a ZANU-PF youth interface rally in Gwanda, Matabeleland South on Aug. 12 and was immediately airlifted to a medical facility in Gweru, Midlands Province before being flown to South Africa the next day for further treatment.
Since falling sick, social media had been abuzz with claims that the VP fell sick after eating ice cream from a dairy firm owned by the First Family, claims that were dismissed by the government as false.
The VP on Thursday issued a statement denying that he fell sick after eating ice cream from Gushungo Dairy.
Meanwhile, the First Lady Grace Mugabe urged party youths to desist from denigrating President
Mugabe and reiterated her call for senior party members to stop fighting over Mugabe's succession, saying the veteran president will tell when the time comes for him to retire.
"The presidency is not a job that you can apply for. It's a job that is difficult to get," the First Lady said at the Gweru rally.
Mugabe, 93, will seek re-election in next year's harmonized elections after his party endorsed him as its presidential candidate.