Chiwenga operation pushed back as he claims hospital trip was a ‘visit’

HARARE – Doctors have delayed a planned operation on Vice President Constantino Chiwenga following tests at a private hospital in Harare on Thursday, ZimLive can reveal.

Chiwenga, 65, is due to go under the knife in a procedure to correct some discomfort in his stomach, according to sources.

The retired army general who doubles up as health minister met his team of doctors at the Trauma Centre in Borrowdale where a series of tests were performed.

He left the hospital on Thursday evening after the operation was put off pending the outcome of those tests, medical sources said.

George Charamba, the spokesman in the presidency, maintained that there was nothing to worry with Chiwenga’s health.

He told ZimLive on Thursday: “It’s just some small procedure.”

Chiwenga’s choice of a private hospital for his treatment renewed criticism of the government’s lack of investment in the public health system, where over 95 percent of Zimbabweans get their treatment.

The Trauma Centre is owned by Vivek Solanki, a medical doctor of Serbian origin.

A video of Chiwenga released by Charamba on Friday showed the vice president in his government office.

Speaking on the phone, Chiwenga tells the person at the end of the line that there was nothing wrong with his health.

“They forget I’m minister of health,” Chiwenga says. “I’ve gone to see new ideas, new equipment. My brother (Solanki) wants to do open heart surgery. What’s wrong with people? I should never visit a friend who has a surgery, a clinic or hospital? Now, how do I visit my hospitals?”

From 2018 to 2019, the vice president was treated in India, South Africa and China while battling what he later said was idiopathic oesophageal stricture. His treatment in China lasted six months, before he returned home in December 2019 looking transformed.

“It involves a blockage of the oesophagus. It means you can’t take in food and you can’t even vomit. I spent a lot of time in the intensive care unit. Not many thought I would heal,” he told a Catholic congregation on his return.

Chiwenga divorced his wife, the ex-model Marry Mubaiwa, upon returning home after accusing her of a plot to upgrade their marriage and kill him while he was on his death bed. He has denied Mubaiwa, who is herself ailing, access to their three young children for more than two years.

Chiwenga recently married his long-time girlfriend Miniyothabo Baloyi, a soldier.

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