President speaks on carpet mishap

pres 3Herald Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe was his sprightly self when he reported for work at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare yesterday morning to chair a session of Cabinet following his week-long trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he assumed the African Union chairmanship.

This was despite an incident at Harare International Airport on Wednesday where he slipped on a hump on 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.

Presidential spokesman Mr George Charamba said the President arrived at his Munhumutapa Offices at 9:30am to chair Cabinet.

pres 5“Today, as he got off his car,’’ Mr Charamba said, “I snatched a short conversation with him at the foyer of 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.

“Together with Cde Joseph Nyadzayo, his official photographer, and Cde Chikowore, my deputy, and of course 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.” Cabinet usually sits on Tuesdays, but yesterday’s session, Mr Charamba said, arose from President Mugabe’s commitments in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which kept him away from home.

The Cabinet session ended at 5pm after which the President met Vice Presidents Mnangagwa and Mphoko and then Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Minister Dr Joseph Made, which meant his day ended much later.

President Mugabe on Wednesday 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 AU chairman.

This collage (top to bottom) shows President Mugabe being welcomed on arrival at his Munhumutapa Offices yesterday by his spokesperson Mr George Charamba, walking unassisted in the corridor and greeting his deputies Cdes Phelekezela Mphoko and Emmerson Mnangagwa and other Cabinet ministers before he proceeded to chair a seven-hour Cabinet session

This collage (top to bottom) shows President Mugabe being welcomed on arrival at his Munhumutapa Offices yesterday by his spokesperson Mr George Charamba, walking unassisted in the corridor and greeting his deputies Cdes Phelekezela Mphoko and Emmerson Mnangagwa and other Cabinet ministers before he proceeded to chair a seven-hour Cabinet session

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.

Yesterday, 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.