Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
First Lady Cde Grace Mugabe arrived home yesterday from the Far East, where she was receiving medical treatment, to a rousing welcome from multitudes of Zanu-PF supporters and government officials.The welcome party was organised by Senate president Cde Edna Madzongwe and deputy political commissar of the Zanu-PF Women’s League Cde Omega Hungwe.
Cde Mugabe had remained behind in the Far East when President Mugabe returned from his annual leave last month as she recuperated from an appendesectomy, an operation to remove the appendix.
Soon after her arrival, the First Lady – who was accompanied by President Mugabe – took to the podium and addressed the crowd but did not respond to the litany of falsehoods peddled by online newspapers and social media networks relating to her health. Some online publications last week alleged that the First Lady was in a coma in intensive care while others wished her dead.
The First Lady said she was surprised that some people got excited when someone fell ill.
She said all mortals at some point got ill and that was not by choice.
“There’s no one who doesn’t fall sick,” she said. “It surprises me that there are people who laugh when others fall sick but these mortal bodies aren’t ours. We borrowed them and we all know it’s God Almighty who gives life. So sometimes you feel bodily pain, other times you visit the hospital like I did and are told you aren’t well when you never thought you were unwell,” she said.
She chronicled her medical history, revealing for the first time that she has been operated on three times since 1986.
She said she was an incomplete human being because she was living without some bodily organs.
“I always tell him (President Mugabe) remember I’m an incomplete human being,” she said. “I say so because I want to tell you my medical history so that you know what I mean when I say we should persevere as human beings.
“1986 I was suffering from tonsils for a long time during my youth. Even my children who suffered from tonsils had them removed. I underwent an operation called tonsillectomy that’s why I’m saying I’m incomplete because my tonsils were removed. They were so painful I could hardly breathe so doctors recommended their removal.
“So this was my first surgical operation in 1986. 1996 before we got married in August, the whole of 1995 I wasn’t feeling well and wondering what was wrong, when I consulted doctors they said ‘you produce too much acid’ that’s why you have stomach pains.
“Whenever I had my evening meal, three hours after around 9 o’clock I would have severe abdominal pains and I would wonder at the cause, I consulted doctors.
“I lost weight and thought maybe the cooks at home were spiking my food with potions. You know there’re some who want to be favoured at the workplace so all sorts of things go through your mind because when doctors aren’t pinpointing the problem you wonder at the cause.”
The First Lady said she was finally told that her gall bladder was in bad condition.
“My gall bladder problem was diagnosed in 1995 that it had gall stones so I’d to undergo an operation and this was done on 5 January 1996 and that’s when they discovered that my bladder was swollen and then they removed the gall bladder,” she said.
“So now people will understand what I mean when I say I don’t just eat anything, especially oily food, it’s because of the gall bladder problem. I now had two organs removed . . . but you just live on.
Cde Grace Mugabe said over the years after the second surgery she was feeling pain and at times could struggle to walk.
She said the doctors were insisting that everything was normal until January 1 this year.
The First Lady said she had an appendesectomy procedure on January 2 and had to be sutured again after the wound got infected.
She described appendesectomy as a minor surgical operation.
“It was sudden. So they had to remove the appendix, so now I don’t have three organs because they were removed,” said the First Lady.
She said although she was operated on, she was feeling strong, adding that she hoped that 2015 would be a better year for all Zimbabweans.
Speaking at the same occasion, Zanu-PF Youth League secretary Cde Pupurai Togarepi did not have kind words for the media. He said the media, which was on the forefront of peddling falsehoods regarding the First Lady’s health, had been shamed.
“Those that were pushing us around, our mother is now here,” he said. Even those who were writing lies, you journalists. The problem with you is that you lie.Our mother is here now. You lied that the First Lady’s in a coma and when I went to the Zanu-PF offices I found youths praying, saying that they had read in online articles that the First Lady was in a coma. I told them I’d looked at the President’s face on his return and it didn’t show he was worried, so it can’t be true.
“These people are liars and today it’s been proved. The liars have been shamed forever.”
Cde Togarepi said as the Youth League they would brief the First Lady, who is also the Zanu-PF Women’s League secretary, on political developments that happened in her absence.
Among those who welcomed Cde Grace Mugabe were Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Cabinet Ministers, senior government officials, Zanu-PF Politburo members, services chiefs and scores of Zanu-PF supporters.
The supporters, who were in a jovial mood, were waving placards praising the First Lady for her commitment to the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe.