Constantino Chiwenga in Harare, Zimbabwe. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
Constantino Chiwenga in Harare, Zimbabwe. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

Harare — Ailing Zimbabwean vice-president Constantino Chiwenga has been flown to China for treatment  as he continues to battle a mysterious illness suspected to be poisoning.

Chiwenga, who is largely credited with toppling former president Robert Mugabe after 33 years in power, has been receiving treatment in SA. But on Monday presidential spokesman George Charamba confirmed that the former army general had left for Beijing after the Chinese government pledged to assist with his treatment.

With Zimbabwe’s public hospitals near collapse and the country facing critical shortages of medicines, Chiwenga regularly flies out of the country for medical care and was recently in India for treatment.

“His relocation to China, which builds on the satisfactory recovery progress he has been making, follows weekend discussions at the highest level between the governments of Zimbabwe and China, at which a decision was taken to allow Chinese medical experts to join their counterparts from Zimbabwe, SA and India in attending to the vice-president,” Charamba said.

Charamba did not disclose Chiwenga’s exact illness but reports indicate that the vice-president could have been a victim of poisoning by internal rivals within the ruling Zanu-PF.