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Mugabe, banned from travelling in the EU but “walks” freely in Singapore

Robert Mugabe, former Zimbabwean leader, has been receiving treatment in Singapore for the past two months and is no longer able to walk. This was announced by current Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday.

While speaking to supporters a rally for his ruling ZANU-PF party, current President Mnangagwa said that Mugabe was due to return on 15 October but his journey had been delayed due to poor health.

Without specifying exactly what kind of treatment Mugabe is receiving in Singapore, Mnangagwa said "We have just received a message that he is better now and will return on 30 Nov. He can no longer walk but we will continue taking care of him.”

The official line is that Mugabe is being treated for a cataract. Officials have denied reports that the former-President has prostate cancer.

Mugabe, now 94 years old, ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years after the nation’s independence from Britain in 1980. Following a military coup led by disgruntled members of his own party in late 2017, Mugabe was forced to resign as President and was placed under house arrest when protests erupted.

Opposition to Mugabe had been steadily growing since the early 2000s and he has become a controversial figure in the south African nation. On some accounts, Mugabe is praised as a hero of liberation who helped free Zimbabwe from British colonialism. On the other hand, many see him as a dictator who ruled with widespread corruption, anti-white racism, and an aggressor of human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.

In 2002, the EU imposed economic and travel restrictions on Mugabe, his wife Grace, and several of Mugabe’s top officials to restrict his travel within Europe, free his assets, and ban EU member states from trading arms with Zimbabwe. The EU stated that the restrictions were put in place to pressure Mugabe to step down. EU ministers stated that the people named on the blacklist were actively engaged in violence of human rights infringements. The travel restriction was renewed in 2017 by EU.

It’s a surprise that while Mugabe is still banned from travelling within the EU, he able to walk freely in Singapore. It is well known that Mugabe has been travelling to Singapore for medical treatments for more than a decade and has a ‘good relationship’ with the Singapore authorities. Knowing that, maybe it’s not all that surprising after all. Still, it’s a little weird to know that such a controversial figure like Mugabe is walking around in Singapore like it’s just another Monday.