The response of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's spokesman after photos of the president sleeping at various public events went viral on social media is being highly ridiculed.
Responding to the postings on social media, the spokesman for the 93-year-old president, George Charamba, defended his boss, saying the claim that Mugabe is sleeping in those photos is ridiculous and that Mugabe is normally just resting his eyes from the bright lights.
"I feel like a failure when there is this reading that the president is sleeping in conferences - no. "At 93, there is something that happens to the eyes and the president cannot suffer bright lights,” wrote Charamba.
"If you look at his poise, he looks down, avoids direct lighting,” added Charamba, who said former South African President Nelson Mandela had a similar condition – his eyes were sensitive to flash photography.
The latest public event at which Mugabe was photographed “resting his eyes” was at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, South Africa last week.
Opponents of Mugabe have been calling on him to give up power and retire, saying he is too old and in poor medical condition to run the country effectively. He is actually currently in Singapore seeking medical treatment, his second medical trip abroad.
Despite the criticism, Mugabe is running for another term in the 2018 general elections. His wife Grace has said he should still run next year even if he dies before the election. "If God decides to take him, then we would rather field him as a corpse," Grace recently told supporters at a political rally.