PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe missed a step and tumbled off the podium moments after arriving from Addis Ababa Ethiopia on Wednesday, sending his security team and cabinet ministers present into panic.
Mugabe, who arrived after midday to a rapturous welcome by hundreds of party supporters and the entire Zanu PF leadership, was walking down the stairs off the podium to greet service chiefs and other government ministers when he missed a step and fell to the ground.
The AU chairman who turns 91 on February 21, was aided up by some ministers present and service chiefs but appeared unhurt and returned to greet the service chiefs and government officials before he boarded his official vehicle and left.
Mugabe is usually assisted by First Lady Grace Mugabe who, in most cases, holds his hand to climb up or down the stairs. But Wednesday, he was exposed as Grace is recovering from an operation she underwent in the Far East weeks ago while on holiday.
The fall shocked many and sent security into panic. Photojournalists were forced to delete pictures of the Zanu PF strongman on the ground.