Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe falls after addressing supporters upon his return from an AU meeting in Ethiopia recently. The writer says Africas concept of a strong leader needs to change. Picture: AP


Harare - Sub-editors on Zimbabwe’s state-controlled Herald newspaper are under fire for publishing photos of President Robert Mugabe’s fall at Harare International Airport last week.

According to the website New Zimbabwe.com, the sub-editors were ordered by senior staff not to use pictures of Mugabe tripping over the end of a red carpet at the airport on his return from the AU summit in Ethiopia.

The pictures were taken by state photographer Joseph Nyadzayo, who then delivered them in person to the newspaper’s pictures desk.

Images of the sequence of Mugabe falling and recovering and getting back on his feet have been published around the world.

According to insiders, three sub-editors on the daily have been ordered to write comprehensive reports explaining why they published the pictures.

The editor of the Herald, Caesar Zvayi, has not made himself available to the media since the pictures were published.

Other journalists who took photos of the president falling claim they were told to delete them by intelligence operatives.

Government spokesman George Charamba was not available, but he had earlier been quoted in the local media as denying that several presidential guards had been suspended from duty after the president fell.

There were claims in some media that 27 security guards were suspended from duty.

A former public servant, who knows airport procedures for Mugabe’s lavish and regular arrivals and departures, said security personnel were not “in trouble”. He added: “If anyone is going to get the chop, it will be some guys from Public Works who didn’t nail the red carpet down well enough.”

Mugabe recovered and was back on his feet in an instant.

Foreign Service