Images of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe‚ 93‚ slouched in a chair‚ head propped up by his hand‚ were beamed across the globe from the UN.
Was he resting his sensitive eyes or dozing off while US President Donald Trump delivered his jarring “Rocket Man” speech to the United Nations?
While some world leaders were rattled by Trump threatening to pulverise North Korea‚ most of the delegation from Zimbabwe appeared to have seized the opportunity to take a short nap.
Mugabe earlier this year brushed aside concerns about his health and told supporters: “There is the issue that the president is going. I am not going. That the president is dying. I am not dying.”
But he is frequently photographed at important events where he appears to be asleep.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba has‚ however‚ rubbished such reports. He told The Herald newspaper in Zimbabwe that Mugabe frequently looks down to avoid bright lights after having had specialised eye treatment in Singapore.
“At 93‚ there is something that happens to the eyes and the President cannot suffer bright lights. If you look at his poise‚ he looks down‚ avoids direct lighting‚” he said.
Not everyone appears to agree.
Jessie Majome‚ from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said: “How he can sleep through a nuclear war speech is astounding. To travel so far with so many delegates at such a cost only to sleep so soundly is disconcerting‚” News24 reported.