Nearly 30 bodyguards to Robert Mugabe have reportedly lost their jobs after "allowing" him to fall over on a red carpet in public.
The President of Zimbabwe, 90, handed suspension letters to around 27 of his security staff on Friday as he believes they did not act fast enough to break his fall, which led him to be photographed on his hands and knees – Zimbabwean paper Standard reports.
Robert Mugabe in pictures
Robert Mugabe in pictures
1/20 Mugabe celebrating his 89th birthday
He spent £400,000 on his celebrations. Mugabe and his supporters tucked into an 89kg cake and 89 cattle were presented to him from the country's central bank. A lot of his country are starving
2/20 Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe, 1976
3/20 Mugabe meeting Thatcher
Mugabe said he thought he could 'trust' Thatcher but didn't believe anything Tony Blair said
4/20 Robert Mugabe and David Lange
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Robert Mugabe (R) welcomes his New-Zealand's counterpart David Lange at Harare airport, 1985
5/20 Robert Mugabe and Indira Gandhi
Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the Summit of Non Aligned in New Delhi, 1983
6/20 Robert Mugabe receives the Hunger Project award
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe holds up the Hunger Project award as recipient of the Africa Prize for Leadership 15 September in New York, 1988
7/20 Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (L) is greeted in Havana by Cuban President Fidel Castro, 1992
8/20 Robert Mugabe and Bill Clinton
US President Bill Clinton points to items of interest on the White House grounds to President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe during his visit, 1995
9/20 On Blair's criticism
"So, Blair keep your England, and let me keep my Zimbabwe"
10/20 Robert Mugabe with his wife and Queen Elizabeth
Britain's Queen Elizabeth with President Mugabe of Zimbabwe and his wife, pose for photographers after being the Queen's guest at Buckingham, 1997
11/20 Robert Mugabe with Nelson Mandela and Sam Nujoma
South African President Nelson Mandela (C) and his counterparts, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (L) and Namibia's Sam Nujoma (R), shake hands after a joint pressconference in Pretoria, 1999
12/20 Robert Mugabe prays
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe prays at Harare Catholic cathedral church during a special requiem prayer for the late the country's founding father and liberation war hero Joshua Nkomo, 1999
13/20 Robert Mugabe and Idriss Deb
Presidents Idriss Deby of Chad (L) and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe attend a tree-planting ceremony on the African Union (AU) square in Ouagadougou, 2004
14/20 A controversial appearance on behalf of Nandos
Colonel Gaddafi sprays Robert Mugabe with water in the TV advert. His role in the spoof was played by a lookalike
15/20 On the West
"Countries such as the U.S. and Britain have taken it upon themselves to decide for us in the developing world, even to interfere in our domestic affairs and to bring about what they call regime change"
16/20 On voting
"Our votes must go together with our guns. After all, any vote we shall have, shall have been the product of the gun. The gun which produces the vote should remain its security officer - its guarantor. The people's votes and the people's guns are always inseparable twins"
17/20 On food aid
"We are not hungry... Why foist this food upon us? We don't want to be choked. We have enough" 1.5 million people were starving in 2005, especially in the drought-stricken south. Food aid became politicised
18/20 On power
"It may be necessary to use methods other than constitutional ones"
19/20 Robert Mugabe with his family
Zimbabwes President Robert Mugabe (R) and his wife Grace (L) with their 24-year-old first-born child and only daughter Bona Mugabe (C) pose after the convocation at MDIS-University of Wales graduation ceremony in Singapore, 2013
20/20 Robert Mugabe votes
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (L) casts his vote by his wife Grace and daughter Bona (R) at a polling booth in a school in Harare, 2013
The security staff had seemingly already been replaced by the time the president met with newly-elected Zambian leader Edgar Lungu later that day, the paper reported.
Photographers were also ordered to delete images of the moment Mugabe appeared to have missed a step while walking down a podium at an airport, according to Associated Press.
An official told the Standard: “He went on to touch the ground on all fours.
“That should never happen. What if someone pulled a gun? The immediate proximity team should have helped him up because those are the people that are allowed to touch him before anyone else.”
Mugabe, who will be 91 on 21 February, was travelling back to Zimbabwe from Ethiopia that day after he was assigned the role of chairperson of the African Union.
The president – who led a revolution against white-minority rule – has been accused of allowing his supporters to use violence as an election strategy, according to human rights groups.
The country abandoned its hyper-inflated currency for the US dollar in 2009.Reuse content