NAIROBI, Kenya – Troubled Zimbabwean ageing strongman President Mugabe went into deep sleep on Saturday during the ongoing African Heads of State and Government attending the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) Summit being held in Nirobi, Kenya.
Kenyan media sources at the conference said Mr Mugabe caused uncomfortable feeling from some heads of State and delegates attending the conference when he started to make heavy snoring noise promtping Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to ask Zimbabwean delegates accompanying the President to help their leader.
The source said chuckling voices were heard in the room as Mr Mugabe appeared to be hitting the table with his forehead
In March this year Mugabe (92), dozzed off during a press conference in Japan while standing on a podium
Once in a while you get to meet a president who stands out-even in a room filled with skilled, well experienced, successful, and highly educated people. One who isn’t just remarkably charismatic while sleeping, but also remarkably likable when he falls asleep in public. The 90-year old Zimbabwean president does a tremendous amount of thinking, which might be one of the reasons for his regular “doze-offs” in very nearly all the political related occasions he attends.
Robert Mugabe was elected AU chairman at the summit in Addis Ababa last week. But, guess what? He was also spotted sleeping in that very occasion. Okay, I particularly know much is expected of him which is why he thinks a lot just as every other president does, but Mugabe’s thinking has somehow degenerated to regular snoring in public meetings and conferences and it is turning into a hobby.
“I fall sick if I don’t exercise,” Mr Mugabe said three years ago. Needing little sleep, he gets up between 04:00 and 05:00 every morning to exercise while, according to a close source, listening to the BBC World Service. But he’s not fond of the gym machines his wife has installed in state house and prefers to follow his own regime: “In prison we had no equipment, we just had ourselves and that’s what I still do today.”
Another secret to his long life may be that he prefers his sadza – Zimbabwe’s staple food – to be made the traditional way from unrefined grains, which is much healthier than the ubiquitous white version of the maize dish. Plus he doesn’t smoke, although is known to have some wine with dinner.
Despite constant rumours of ill health – a Wikileaks cable suggested he has prostate cancer – his health and political career appear robust. Cataracts are his only confirmed ailment – he had an operation to remove one this week. “I have died many times – that’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once,” he said when he turned 88.
Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe, 90, fell down steps from a podium after speaking to supporters upon his return from Ethiopia, say witnesses.
Mr Mugabe appeared to miss a step and toppled when he left the raised lectern at the airport on Wednesday afternoon, according to several witnesses, who insisted on anonymity because of security concerns.
His aides quickly helped him up and escorted him to his limousine which sped away, they said.
“He addressed supporters who welcomed him … He missed a step as he walked down from the podium and immediately fell down,” said a witness.
As a boy, Robert Mugabe was a “keen and good” tennis player, said a student teacher at the Catholic mission where he went to school. But when he lost he would throw his racket onto the ground. “You would see his head fall and his shoulders drop down and he would leave the court without saying anything to anybody,” Brother Kazito Bute told Heidi Holland in her book Dinner With Mugabe.
He was received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi who travelled ahead of him, Kenya’s permanent secretary for Defence Kanmi Kabeira, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Kenya Kelebert Nkomani, Kenya’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Lucy Chelimo and Zimbabwe’s embassy staff.
Soon after his arrival, President Mugabe signed the visitors’ book before he proceeded to his hotel. Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa and Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa are also part of President Mugabe’s delegation.
President Mugabe was seen off at the Harare International Airport by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko (who is Acting President), Government officials and senior civil servants. More than 35 African leaders have confirmed their participation at this high level meeting which is starting today at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is the convener of the Summit, arrived here on Thursday. TICAD contributes to the facilitation and promotion of high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and Africa’s development partners on issues relating to economic growth, trade and investment, sustainable development, human security, peace and stability and governance.
The summit, which is ending tomorrow, is being held in Africa for the first time since its inception in 1993. In 1993, Japan co-hosted the inaugural TICAD conference and had done so in the subsequent years on a five year interval.
By providing an opportunity for high-level policy dialogue, TICAD has become a critical global platform through which Asian and African nations, as well as international stakeholders, can collaborate to promote Africa’s development. As a multilateral partnership, TICAD processes actively promote South-South and triangular cooperation, in addition to traditional co-operation.
The summit, which is co-organised by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, the United Nations Development Programme, the African Union and the World Bank, will focus on promoting structural economic transformation through diversification and industrialisation; promoting resilient health system for quality life and promoting social stability for shared prosperity.
Various side events such as seminars/symposiums, exhibitions and business forum have been scheduled to run concurrently with the TICAD VI Summit.
The decision to host TICAD VI Summit in Africa was reached during the TICAD V Summit in 2013 when it was agreed that the venue of subsequent TICAD Summits be alternated between Japan and Africa. The interval of summit Meetings was also shortened from every five years to three years.