Robert Mugabe falls down stairs, tries to get photographers to delete evidence

Video survived showing the 90-year-old president's stumble

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The Independent Online

Robert Mugabe has fallen down a flight of stairs on his return to Zimbabwe from Ethiopia, in an incident captured on camera despite the best efforts of his security team.

The 90-year-old President of Zimbabwe was making his way down from a raised podium at the airport when he appeared to miss a step and fell to the ground.

Mugabe fell on his return from an African Union meeting in Ethiopia (AP)

Mugabe, 90, was elected chairman of the African Union and is set to celebrate his 91st birthday on 21 February (AP)

Mugabe’s security team was quick to step in, surrounding the president and helping him the rest of the way to a park limousine.

As the car sped away, officials turned their attention to the TV cameras and photographers present. A number of journalists told the Associated Press they were forced to delete their pictures of the incident by security personnel.

The President was returning from a successful trip to the summit of the 54-nation African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 30 January. Despite the fact that he will celebrate his 91st birthday on 21 February, Mugabe has been elected chairman of the AU – a largely ceremonial role.

Zimbabwe, a once-prosperous nation of 13 million people in southern Africa, has struggled since Mugabe's government began seizing white-owned farms in 2000. Mugabe is accused of using widespread violence to win several disputed elections, according to human rights groups. The country suffered hyperinflation until it abandoned its currency for the US dollar in 2009.

Mugabe’s press spokesperson has yet to provide comment on the incident.