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Herald Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe was his spritely self when he reported for work at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare this morning to chair a session of Cabinet following his week-long trip to Ethiopia where he assumed the African Union chairmanship.

Despite an incident at Harare International Airport yesterday where he slipped on a hump in the red carpet as he got off the podium after addressing thousands of jubilant party supporters who had gathered to welcome, and congratulate him for his ascension to the AU chair.

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Presidential spokesman Mr George Charamba said President Mugabe arrived at his Munhumutapa Offices at 0930 hours to chair Cabinet.

”Today, as he got off his car,” Mr Charamba said, ”I snatched a short conversation with him at the foyer of the Munhumutapa Building:

”’Are you okay, Cde President?”

”’Why?” (light-heartedly).

”’After yesterday’s incident?”’

”’I am okay; it was just a slip”’, Mr Charamba quoted the President as saying.

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”Together with Cde Joseph Nyadzayo, his official photographer, and Cde Chikowore, my deputy, and ofcourse his security aides, we accompanied him up a flight of stairs, and then to the Cabinet Room,” Mr Charamba said.

”He walked unaided all the time. In the Room, he greeted and bantered with his Ministers on one side of the Oval table, as he made his way to his seat. Before taking his seat, he greeted his two deputies, and gestured a greeting to the rest of the members of Cabinet sitting on the other side.

”Thereafter we left the President to chair the day’s session, ” Mr Charamba said.

pres 5Cabinet usually sits on Tuesdays but today’s session, Mr Charamba said, arose from President Mugabe’s commitments in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which kept him away from home.

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President Mugabe yesterday tripped over a poorly-laid carpet at Harare International Airport, but remarkably managed to break the fall before walking to his car, evidently unscathed.

He had just addressed thousands of jubilant party supporters who had gathered to welcome him and celebrate his election as African Union chairman.

Speaking off the cuff for slightly over 43 minutes following a four-hour flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he spent a busy week chairing AU plenary meetings in addition to meeting African leaders, President Mugabe turned to leave and was walking down a flight of steps when he tripped over.

Remarkably, the President, broke his fall and landed on his knees.

Aides helped him back to his feet and he was able to walk to his car.

Last night, the President’s fall was attracting excited headlines around the world, with many linking it to old age or poor health. Ironically, just seconds earlier, the President had admonished the media for specialising in non-issues.