Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe since 1980, tripped and fell on Wednesday while descending the steps of a podium. He then tried to cover it up, instead inspiring widespread mockery across social media.
Mugabe, who turns 91 on Feb. 21, was recently elected chairman of the African Union (A.U.), and fell after giving a speech in the country's capital, Harare.
Photographers on the scene told reporters from The Associated Press
that they were soon forced to delete pictures of the fall from their cameras.
Soon after Mugabe was whisked away in a limousine, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo gave a longwinded and confusing explanation that appeared to both deny and confirm the fall, according to The Washington Post
"Nobody has shown any evidence of the president having fallen down because that did not happen," Moyo initially told the state-owned Zimbabwe Herald.
He then recanted, saying "The hump on which the president tripped was formed by two pieces of the carpet which apparently had not been laid out properly where they joined. And to be honest with you, even Jesus, let alone you, would have also tripped in that kind of situation."
Moyo went on to decry "the nonsensical celebrations by malcontents who are imagining a fall that never was, since it was actually broken by the president himself."
After the attempted cover-up and confusing denial, users posted a photo of the fall to Reddit.com, one of the most heavily-trafficked websites on the Internet. The picture was soon upvoted to the front page of the site after it was revealed that the international community widely considers Mugabe a monstrous dictator, one whom ABC News once labeled "the butcher of Africa."
The photo was soon picked up by Photoshop artists, who inserted Mugabe into a number of hilarious scenes. Many of the altered photos were posted to Twitter, the best of which are gathered below.
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