Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s habitual nap at international conferences is no longer news to Africans, although the embarrassment keeps haunting all and sundry.
No doubt, age plays a lot of stuff on elderly people and sleeping at will – regardless of where they find themselves – is a habit that can never be easily shoved off when the pressure comes knocking.
Mugabe is 93 and has bluntly refused to anoint a successor, earning himself many backlashes from some African heads and Western leaders too.
Often times – at least, over 10 times – at different continental and international conferences/meetings, Mugabe was spotted struggling to stay awake and sometimes having a good nap.
The recent was on May 4, at the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) held in Durban. At the meeting, shortly after he sent most ribs cracking about Zimbabwe being the most developed state, after South Africa, the 93-year-old leader was caught have a good nap while other participants were busy listening to the speakers.
As expected, Twitter had a field day on the said day with many asking why he was invited to the forum in the first place.
On Thursday, May 12, Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba weighed in the matter. Speaking to the state-run Herald newspaper, Charamba reportedly downplayed claims that Mugabe sleeps at meetings. He told reporters that Mugabe is not asleep when he closes his eyes for long periods during meetings but is resting his eyes.
Furthermore, he disclosed that Mugabe, who is currently receiving specialized medical treatment for his eyes in Singapore, doesn’t put up with bright light.
Check Out: EFF’s Malema In Plot To Topple Mugabe
Charamba likened Mugabe to Nelson Mandela, whose eyes were sensitive to flash photography after years of working in a limestone quarry when he was imprisoned on Robben Island.
“I feel like a failure when there is this reading that the President is sleeping in conferences, no. At 93, there is something that happens to the eyes and the President cannot suffer bright lights. If you look at his poise, he looks down, avoids direct lighting,” he said.
The ailing leader has announced his intention to stand in for president next year and has received the support of his party ZANU-PF.