Several bodyguards of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe have been punished for failing to prevent him falling down the steps from a podium, in an incident that drew widespread mockery online.

The 90-year-old dictator was captured on camera as he stumbled on a red carpet and fell to his knees after addressing supporters who gathered to welcome him back from a trip to Ethiopia at Harare airport last week.

His staff scrambled to cover up the embarrassing incident, with photographers at the scene saying they were forced to delete an image which could have undermined Mugabe’s claim that, despite his advanced age, he is “fit as two fiddles”.

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