In a short video-clip, Mugabe is seen trudging slowly towards the high table, literally dragging his feet, amid heavy security. Zimbabwe’s only leader since majority rule from Britain in 1980 continues to follow a punishing travel schedule despite age taking its toll on him and failing health.
In another picture, Mugabe appears to be in deep slumber as the programme continued.
Mugabe was expected back in the country yesterday. The 93-year-old leader has taken to flying in and out of the country at odd hours since last week’s trip to Singapore for a health check-up.
Information ministry principal director Regis Chikowore confirmed Mugabe was expected in Harare yesterday.
“We are expecting him today (yesterday),” Chikowore said.
Mugabe travelled to Singapore last week for what officials claimed was a “routine medical check-up”, returning on Sunday morning just for hours. With the country teetering on the brink of a nationwide strike by civil servants, the Zanu PF leader flew out early on Monday to Ghana.
In the last few years, Mugabe has had to face the grim reality that biology was taking its toll. The Zanu PF leader has shown signs of slowing down and frailty epitomised by his spectacular tumble at Harare International Airport two years ago after addressing party supporters on arrival from an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The fall triggered a slew of social media memes forcing officials to go into propaganda overdrive claiming he had “broken the fall”. But Mugabe admitted: “I am human and it is not the first time I have fallen.”
Since then he has been embarrassed in Nigeria and needed help on a visit to India after stumbling over a small stair.
Government officials have told tales of an alert Mugabe, but the Zimbabwean leader is said to “sleep a lot” during meetings.
The veteran nationalist has already been endorsed as Zanu PF’s candidate in next year’s general elections. He will be 94 and, already the world’s oldest-serving Head of State, Mugabe will then serve his second term of office under the 2013 Constitution until 2023, when he will be 99.