Angelo spoke to the former US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Joseph Sullivan.“According to Angelo, Mugabe’s ailments include periodic convulsions and stroke-like episodes (perhaps ischemia) brought on by diabetes and a lipid disorder which affects the covering of the brain,” Sullivan said in the dispatch.
“He apparently suffered one of these episodes several weeks ago, although he never left the country. “Mugabe can be revived rather quickly on such occasions, but does not need to be under constant observation since he can fall or suffocate during the episode.”
There have been reports of Mugabe collapsing in the past. In 2000, Mugabe fell and cut his head near the right eye during an international conference in Malaysia.
He needed six stitches to close the cut, which he suffered after slipping and bumping against a rail on arrival on the island.
Despite wide speculation about Mugabe’s health, the 88-year-old Zanu PF leader has always managed to appear alert and healthy for his age in public. But the American diplomats believe he makes a lot of effort to look healthy during his public appearances.
“In any event, Mugabe’s public appearances and reports of his behaviour suggest that he generally remains lucid and assertive, albeit apparently frail at times in discharging the duties of his office,” reads Sullivan’s cable in part.
Sullivan said the information he had gleaned from Angelo and friends of the Mugabe family depicted “an ailing, egotistical family man interested in leaving office but gives no indication of when he would be prepared to leave”.
Recent US diplomatic cables have suggested that Mugabe has advanced prostate cancer. The cable also gives an insight into the First family where there are claims that Mugabe was always at loggerheads with his wife over matters such as raising their children.
Other cables also show that the Americans have over the years unsuccessfully tried to ascertain Mugabe’s wealth.
All they could do was to speculate that Mugabe’s fortune could be in excess of US$1 billion.