|Robert Mugabe’s eyes start to close at last week’s World Economic Forum|
ZIMBABWEAN dictator Robert Mugabe’s aides have denied he was sleeping after he was snapped with his eyes shut at a meeting.
The ageing despot was pictured slumped over with his head down during a discussion panel at last week’s World Economic Forum meeting in South Africa.
But a spokesman for the 93-year-old – who has been running the country now since 1987 – insisted he was not napping.
Instead, George Charamba told the state-run Herald newspaper the president was just resting his eyes.
He claimed the leader – who has made a habit of closing his eyes for long periods during public events – has very sensitive eyes that need protecting from bright lights.
Charamba said: “I feel like a failure when there is this reading that the president is sleeping in conferences.
“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.”
The spokesman compared Mugabe to Nelson Mandela, whose eyes were sensitive to flash photography after years of working in a limestone quarry when he was imprisoned on Robben Island.
He said: “You were not allowed to even use flashes whenever he was in the room.”
Last week’s meeting was not the first time the tyrant has been spotted resting his eyes during a public engagement.
Mugabe has been pictured numerous times over the years with his eyes closed during conferences, forums and even funerals.
In many of the snaps he has his head down or resting on his hand.
Charamba said the president was receiving specialised treatment for his eyes and that his general health was good. More photos below;