Apr. 10 (GIN) – Zimbabwe’s octogenarian leader Robert Mugabe has extended a visit to Singapore where he has been receiving treatment, reportedly for prostate cancer. The unconfirmed reports of his demise were denied by ZANU PF party officials who called them “lies meant to destabilize Zimbabwe.”

Precedent for the practice of denying the death of a national leader who had actually passed away was seen most recently in Malawi where the president died last week Thursday amidst vigorous claims that he was alive. President Bingu wa Mutharika’s death was finally confirmed on Friday. Similarly, Nigerian former president Umaru Musa Yar’Aadua was confirmed to be deceased in May 2010 although it is now believed he died earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, Mugabe was recently endorsed by his party as the presidential candidate for the next election which he wants held this year despite strong disagreement from the opposition under Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who wants to see reform before polls are held in 2013.

It is widely believed that President Mugabe has already hand-picked Defense Minister Emerson Mnangagwa, also known as “the crocodile” a former head of the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation to take over.

Elsewhere, the human rights group Amnesty International named Zimbabwean activist Jenni Williams, co-founder of WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise), as the recipient of its 2012 Ginetta Sagan Award at a ceremony in Washington DC. The women’s community empowerment movement was started in 2003 by Williams and the late Sheba Dube.

The award honors activists who persevere in their work, often at great personal risk and sacrifice.

Williams will receive a $10,000 cash prize in the name of the late Italian rights activist Ginetta Sagan.