Tragedy Stalks President Robert Mugabe Family in Zimbabwe

Published on Wednesday 18th August 2010

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's sister, Bridgette, is critically ill and is admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU), officials at the hospital confirmed on Saturday.

Bridgette, a younger sister to the late Sabina Mugabe who was declared a national heroine and buried at Heroes Acre in Harare last Sunday, was admitted at one of the country's largest referral hospitals on Tuesday, after she collapsed.

Bridgette's illness, it is feared, will take a heavy toll on the 86-year-old leader. "There has not been any change since she was admitted," said the official. "She is not even talking."

The officials said Bridgette is admitted in D-Floor, an expensive and well-equipped ward mainly for the elite and is heavily guarded by security agents to the extent that some doctors who work at the hospital are not allowed access to it.

Bridgette was ferried by ambulance to the hospital on Tuesday night after she collapsed at State House. Hospital officials said she is diabetic.

The officials said Mugabe has been visiting his sister since her admission.

Efforts to get an official comment from the hospital's chief executive officer Thomas Zigora were fruitless yesterday.

Bridgette's nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo on Friday confirmed to The Standard's sister paper, NewsDay, that she was not feeling well. He, however, would not disclose the nature of her illness.

Last Sunday, Bridgette collapsed at the national shrine as the body of Sabina was being carried to its final resting place.

Reports say after regaining composure, she started screaming and uttering incomprehensible words.

This was not the first time Bridgette caused a stir at the national shrine.

In 2000, she performed a ritual at the grave of Mugabe's first wife, Sally, who died of a kidney ailment in 1992.

Her actions at Sally's grave left many in the small crowd gathered at the shrine to pay their respects to Zimbabwe's fallen heroes shocked.

As Mugabe wound up his speech, Bridgette detached herself from the crowd and headed for Sally's grave.

She went straight to the grave and demanded from the departed Sally why she did not seem to realise that her husband, Mugabe, was now under siege, troubled by so many people, especially the MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai.

She asked why Sally had abandoned Mugabe. She acted as if she was in a trance and in direct communication with the spirit of her departed sister-in-law. Then, Bridgette was working in the Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation.

In May 2007, Mugabe lost his younger brother Donato. Bridgette is one of Mugabe's two surviving siblings. The other one is Regina.


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