Ailing vice president Constantino Chiwenga “must keep away from the office for a while” as he continues his recovery from a health scare officials described as “very bad”, a senior government official has revealed.

Chiwenga returned to Zimbabwe this week after about a week in South Africa undergoing treatment together with wife, Mary.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited the couple at their Harare home on Wednesday.

According to a spokesperson for the presidency, Mnangagwa was advised “in very clear terms” that his deputy needs time to recover.

This was the view of deputy health minister Dr John Mangwiro who travelled with the couple to South Africa.

“There was also an extensive discussion with the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care on (the) vision (of) the President and the Vice President in respect of the health sector,” said presidential spokesman George Charamba.

“Dr Mangwiro told the President in very clear terms that the Vice President must be given sufficient time to rest and that he must keep away from the Office for a while.”

Chiwenga’s condition had been very bad, Charamba added.

“The VP had developed acids in his stomach that were reaching the small intestines. It was very bad. I think his system was producing too much of hyaluronic acid in the stomach,” he said.

“Ordinarily, you would need it as the first line of defence against bacteria, but in his case I think secretion of acid was just too excessive to the extent that it was starting to attack stomach linings.”

He added; “Apparently, you have to give it time to allow internal body tissues to heal both large and small intestines were attacked.

“But he must also remain calm and rested to make sure that there is no relapsing into excessive secretion of the acids in the body.”

The vice president and his wife were reportedly in good spirits during Mnangagwa’s visit.

According to Charamba, Mary Chiwenga’s health problems are related to injuries sustained when a suspected bomb exploded at a Bulawayo campaign rally ahead of the July 30 elections.

“After the Bulawayo bombing incident, apparently she had some deep lesions right to the bone and they were beginning to gather pus leading to swelling of hands,” said Charamba.

“Literally, they (doctors) were cleaning lesion-by-lesion. She is still swollen but the swelling is beginning to subside now.”

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