President Robert Mugabe returned home from Singapore looking fit and defying reports that he was seriously ill. Following widespread speculation that Mugabe had gone to seek vital medical attention in Singapore, where he travelled eight times last year for medical check-ups.

The 88-year-old leader walked down the stairs of a white chartered plane, accompanied by his wife and was met at Harare's main airport by senior government officials, including his potential successor, vice president Joice Mujuru.

Mugabe did not speak to reporters and was whisked away in his official presidential cavalcade.

Mugabe is one of Africa's longest serving leaders and has ruled the former British colony in southern Africa since 1980. He shares power with political rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in a fragile coalition formed three years ago and if he were to step down through ill health, it is believed he would hands the leadership over to Mr Tsvangirai.