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Another Embarrassing Stumble, Near-Fall for President Mugabe

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe suffered yet another embarrassing stumble on Thursday as he lost balance and nearly toppled backwards at an India-Africa summit in New Delhi, India.

Looking exhausted and weak, the 91-year-old leader staggered while trying to ascend a tiny stage to shake hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Three people, including Modi, sprung to Mr. Mugabe’s aide and helped him up the podium and off.

Mugabe grabbed international headlines and became a subject of many viral memes in February after tumbling headlong at the Harare International Airport.

Journalists who captured the footage were reportedly ordered to delete it from their cameras; but the recording still found its way into mainstream and social media.

India Africa Summit
India Africa Summit

And Thursday’s incident also generated excitement online with political scientist Dr. Nkululeko Sibanda saying Mr. Mugabe’s latest stumble showed old age is taking a toll on him.

“It is an embarrassment both to the president and Zimbabweans who saw him failing to step on a no-more-than 5-inch step and attempting more than once but failing until he gets some help,” commented Dr. Sibanda.

“You would hope Mugabe and those around him realize finally that continuing to allow him to exercise his duties as president is nearly an abuse of his human rights... his people should not behave as if the president is somehow immune to nature.”

Critics and opposition politicians have called on Mr. Mugabe to abdicate power, citing his advanced age, reported ill-health and accusing him of running down a once promising economy.

But he has constantly maintained he is in good shape, describing himself as “fit as a fiddle.”