HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga is receiving treatment in South Africa for injuries sustained in a bombing in June at a campaign rally for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, state newspaper the Herald reported on Monday.
Chiwenga, 61, a former military general who led the coup that ousted long-time ruler Robert Mugabe last November, is widely seen as the power behind Mnangagwa and the front-runner to succeed him.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba told the Herald that Chiwenga flew to South Africa on Tuesday last week.
Charamba did not give details on Chiwenga’s condition but told the newspaper the vice president was receiving treatment for injuries sustained during the June bombing at a Mnangagwa campaign rally in Bulawayo that killed two security aides.
“So he flew out last Tuesday alongside his wife who was also due for a review in South Africa, where they then went for medical checks,” Charamba told the newspaper.
He added that both Chiwenga and his wife were “in good health” after treatment.
“Barring the unforeseen, we expect the couple back into the country sometime this week.”
Charamba could not be reached directly for comment.
Mnangagwa, who took over from his mentor Mugabe, appointed Chiwenga vice president after the coup and retained him following his disputed July 30 election win.
Speculation about Chiwenga’s health began circulating two weeks ago when the vice president, frequently seen at Mnangagwa’s side, disappeared from public view.
(Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing by Hugh Lawson)