Restless Chiwenga sparks fresh health concerns on trip to Manicaland

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga sparked fresh concerns about his health on Thursday after he was filmed fidgeting and struggling to maintain his focus while listening to survivors of Cyclone Idai.

Chiwenga, who spent over two weeks in an Indian hospital in February receiving treatment for what the government said was a “minor abdominal ailment”, travelled to Chimanimani and Chipinge districts with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and at least three former presidential candidates to assess the ongoing relief efforts.

During a visit to Chipinge District Hospital, Chiwenga was filmed struggling to maintain his focus as an elderly man narrated how he survived the cyclone.

The former army general, who led a coup that ousted former President Robert Mugabe in November 2017, kept on glancing sideways in-between nodding as if to indicate that he was following the survivor’s narration.

It is not the first time Chiwenga has been filmed exhibiting restless behaviour.

In September last year, during a press conference held by Mnangagwa to announce the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the August 1 shooting death of six people in Harare by soldiers, Chiwenga was seen being restless and mindlessly tapping his fingers on a desk.

Later in December, during a news conference with the health minister, Chiwenga surprised journalists by complaining that it was too hot in the room. Chiwenga struggled to sit still, exhibiting extreme restlessness and dabbing his face repeatedly with a cloth.

Medical experts say Chiwenga has some kind of anxiety disorder. The vice president has previously spoken of a bizarre skin lightening condition which has also affected his wife. He said the loss of skin pigmentation began suddenly around the time he was leading the military coup.

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