Mugabe, the Zimbabwe president and recently elected chairman of the African Union (AU), was in Harare on last month to give a speech. As he walked down from the podium, he appeared to trip and fall. It was caught on film. For a 90-year-old man, a trip is understandable.
What’s less easy to understand is what happened next: Zimbabwe’s government issued a denial. “Nobody has shown any evidence of the president having fallen down because that did not happen,” Information Minister Jonathan Moyo eventually told the state-owned Zimbabwe Herald, before offering a more obtuse explanation. Formerly Rhodesia, Zimbabwe quit the Commonwealth in December 2003. It has been a dictatorship under Mugabe ever since, with harsh treatment of overt opposition.