Robert Mugabe ‘not sleeping, just resting his eyes’

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Zimbabwes 93-year-old president has been photographed seemingly nodding off at several conferences, but his spokesman says its an optical affliction

Robert Mugabe is not sleeping in meetings as a series of images would suggest. In fact, his PR man has said, he is simply resting his eyes.

The state-run Herald newspaper on Thursday quoted spokesman George Charamba as saying the 93-year-old Zimbabwean president has a medical condition that means his eyes cant handle bright lights.

He spoke after Mugabe left this week for medical treatment for his eyes in Singapore.

I feel like a failure when there is this reading that the president is sleeping in conferences no, Charamba said.

The comments came after Mugabe was captured apparently dozing at a World Economic Forum meeting in South Africa this month.

Theophilous (@tchiviru)

#Mugabe sleeping at the #WEF during a discussion on youth involvement in decision making. Sad…. pic.twitter.com/OYQjuTkFE3

May 4, 2017

It isnt the first time he has been photographed mid-nap. It also happened during Ghanas 60th anniversary of Independence parade in March.

Ismail Akwei (@akweiakwei)

#Ghana is 60 and ongoing is the independence day parade. Mugabe is caught sleeping while ceremony is ongoing. #Ghana60YearsOn pic.twitter.com/5qajyiFnUw

March 6, 2017

Mugabes weakening health is being watched carefully in Zimbabwe. Images of him struggling to walk on a red carpet and toppling from a raised lectern in 2015 have trended on social media.

He has been in power since 1980 and says he will run for election again next year.

Associated Press contributed to this report

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/12/robert-mugabe-not-sleeping-just-resting-his-eyes