Row over leaked Mugabe pictures

HARARE - The fallout within government and Zanu PF circles over President Robert Mugabe’s mortifying tumble at the Harare International Airport last week is apparently escalating.

Sources told the Daily News yesterday that official consternation over the matter was now focused on the source of the leaks of the damaging pictures and videos of the fall, which quickly went viral even after the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) forced journalists from the private media to delete their pictures of the incident.

And as the inquest into the leaks gathers steam, it emerged yesterday that rowdy Zanu PF youths, allegedly supported by intelligence officials, were harassing vendors and other citizens going about their business in Marondera, by checking their mobile phones for images of the fall.

At the same time, the editor of the State-controlled The Herald newspaper, Caesar Zvayi, felt moved enough yesterday to officially dismiss reports that claimed that sub-editors at the daily who were on duty when Mugabe fell were in trouble with authorities over the publication of the photos and story of the incident — as the heat over the incident rises.

But sources who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said the anger within official circles also included the “perplexing fact that exactly the same pictures used in the State media were the same ones used by the international media”.

“There is a lot of suspicion around these pictures in terms of their source and how they ended up circulating around the world a mere two hours after Mugabe fell down.

“What is indisputable is that the pictures taken by the private media were all deleted by the CIO at the airport, which leaves questions around those pictures that were in official circles,” one source said.

“There is this perplexing fact that exactly the same pictures used in the State media were the same ones used by the international media.

“Even video photographers from organisations such as SABC and AP were forced to delete their images, so the pictures that went viral could only have come from someone in a privileged position and whose pictures were not deleted, hence the massive probe.

“There has been an argument that the pictures could have been taken by smart phones, but again that argument does not hold water because the pictures were clearly shot from a professional camera and the angle from which they were taken from shows that there were no party supporters there except journalists and government officials only,” another source said.

Contacted for comment yesterday, presidential spokesperson George Charamba declined to shed light on the matter.

The Daily News’ sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday reported at the weekend that First Lady Grace Mugabe was said to be apoplectic about alleged poor planning and response by Mugabe’s aides when the nonagenarian fell last week.

Sources said so angry was Grace — whom Mugabe has said is recuperating from a minor operation in Singapore — that she had allegedly demanded the heads of all the implicated people to roll, including those of some security details.

“She was raving mad when she heard of the incident and felt that his aides and security team were negligent in this unfortunate issue.

“As any spouse would do, she is clearly fearful that things could have turned really nasty on the day given the president’s age and state of health, and is thus keen to see that this is never repeated.

“This is one of the reasons why petrified government officials and State media have gone into overdrive to try and play down the incident, and to abuse anyone who has shone a negative spotlight on the incident,” one of the sources said.

Another source claimed that Grace’s anger emanated from the fact that Mugabe’s aides had seemingly not planned the airport rally and podium arrangements well, as well as the fact that security details had allegedly taken too long to react to the nonagenarian’s fall.

“She is angry because President Mugabe’s staff knew very well that he has difficulty walking, especially climbing and walking down steps, but did not appear to have factored this in at the airport.

“And when he tumbled over, the security team appears to have been taken unawares, which calls into question their alertness,” another source said.

The increasingly frail Mugabe fell after he had just finished addressing his supporters after returning from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he took over the rotating ceremonial chairmanship of the African Union.

Although he appeared unhurt after the nasty incident — which occurred in full view of gathered bigwigs, Zanu PF rank and file members and journalists — it triggered visible panic among senior government officials and security chiefs, who all scrambled to try and help him get on his feet and to ensure that he was alright.

Grace was also said to be upset with the fact that photographs and video evidence of the fall had leaked on the Internet almost immediately after the incident, and despite assurances that the CIO had confiscated and destroyed all images that had been captured by the private media.

This had created suspicions about the source of the images and whether State media or Zanu PF officials and members had been complicit in the damaging leaks that made global news.

It is understood that the CIO, on its part, is now conducting an internal review to determine the facts around the president’s fall, although it is not known  when this is expected to be completed — with the results expected to guide any security adjustments and personnel actions that may be necessary to ensure the health and safety of the First Family.

Mugabe is the only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country’s independence from Britain in 1980, in a region where most of the neighbouring countries have had up to six different leaders during the same time.

Comments (48)

There is a recovery software called RECUVA even if u delete any document on a digital storage equipment it will be able to recover it by recreating the digital foot print and recovering the picture so the fact that the pictures were deleted doesnt mean anything the old and techno-phobia CIOs cant beat the system thats wat technology does

Gudo Ndiani - 12 February 2015

It is stupid to try and undo Mugabe's embarrassing fall. Mugabe is a big big show off. He likes to address crowds. Now he fell right in front of the crowds. Mugabe will not be making many trips outside the country because he will still encounter podiums and steep air stairs. Serves him right. This fall is going to save the country millions of dollars because Mugabe will not want to travel that often by air.

Musona - 12 February 2015

Kana akadonha akadonha zve! kutambudzira vanhu izvozvo? why was he not using a walking stick when he is an old limping sekuru?

Bona Mugabe - 12 February 2015

He has difficult in walking but as fit as a fiddle which is which. The video clearly showed that without extra care he was going to fall and he did, he landed on fours and Jonathan Moyo when you land on fours you have not broken a fall you have fallen.

maita - 12 February 2015

Most of you people laughing at the president are in your middle ages but walking dead!

godfrey gudo - 12 February 2015

The Zanu PF criminals tried to wipe out all images of this hilarious scene. These paranoid cretins know nothing about modern technology. Every day that passes leaves these cover-up buffoons more exposed and vulnerable. To avoid further humiliation the CIO needs to buy a strap-on power parachute for their deranged Fuehrer. It is rumored that The EU Ambassador P van Damme has offered to donate to his hero a solar powered wheel chair. . . .

Elasto Kuwaza - 12 February 2015

Ndoo kushaya zvekuita uku

gwabu - 12 February 2015

What is so special about RGM? He is just like the rest of us: like the grass in the field: here today gone tomorrow. Zimbabweans must stop idolising a mere man!

TruthBTold - 12 February 2015

In as much as we do not celebrate the falling or tripping of an elder but Gudo is right. Just deleting digitally encoded stuff from any digital storage device does not mean there is to trace left on the up CIO technicians, you should know that by now. Nyoka inosiya muzvezve wayo!!! Even novice in IT technology know that!!! In any case there are satellites, THE BIGGER BROTHER UP THERE, looking down at all of us...there is genetic tracing etc saka kudzima pic nejira is what the CIO did....what a shame to those who are supposed to be protecting our respected elders.

garikayi - 12 February 2015

Zvakaoma. ko vanodirei kutambisa effort when they have other pressing issues. is it unusual for an old man like mugabe to fall when he is not using a walking stick? God is showing him that he is not mighty as he wants everyone else to see. u cant claim u feel like a child kusimba at 91.its absurd to say the least. mupei tsvimbo, may be a golden one if u want to make him seem cool. i dont know what s wrong with our leaders

prof - 12 February 2015

taura hako Gwabu

Kule Dhambi - 12 February 2015

The fall was no one's fault hence it is so unfortunate that the one who is dubbed as fit as a fiddle fell in front of his members. Nature never ceases to surprise us with this and that just because one is trying to defy age. No matter how much you try your excellency, memory fades with age.

Pride - 12 February 2015

muri kunonoka ku updater our one and only newspaper rinotaura chokwadi.

collins chinhema - 12 February 2015

With recovery software you can recover any deleted data on any media. The only way they could have done it was confiscate all cameras which is impossible.

mid - 12 February 2015

Countrymen lets not waste time over trivialities,Cde Mugabe is now very old to continue moving without a walkind stick.if he does thats at his own risk because falling at that age is quite a normal thing to happen.Countrymen we have other crucial issues to concentrate on kwete kuti sekuru vakadonha,vakadonha vachida nekuti tsvimbo dzakawanda ngavafambe netsvimbo to avoid that in the near future

carson macate - 12 February 2015

This man is a source of trouble to everyman either in opposition, Zanu itself or from neither of the 2. But look he is not the one who is engineering this Probe. These idiots took a risk which the oldman accepted walking without an Aid as he is supposed to. Now they want innocent people to pay for their RISK. Devils!!!. The meaning of the leaking of the images is very clear. The OLD man has overstayed his welcome. Even to his own. I suggest they should 1st punish themselves & HIM BOB for taking the Risk that gave birth to the fall. If it was not of them, then no fall & or the "Breaking of the fall" & hence no photos & Leaking photos full STOP. Stop this nonsense YOU IDIOTS!!!

springboard - 12 February 2015

Mugabe fell and got up but in terms of the damage that fall has done to the Mugabe is fit as a fiddle brand he might just as well be still on his knees! His fall highlighted much more than his physical fitness but more significantly his mental fitness. The nation is facing economic meltdown and there is no doubt that Mugabe have long ran out of ideas of what to do. The worsening economic situation is proof that, mentally, Mugabe fell and he is still on his knees and he is not getting up! Instead of wasting time chasing the individuals who released the photo of Muga-be falling the regime will do better to accept that Mugabe does not have the mental ability to end the economic meltdown and thus save him from grovelling on all four for another day.

wilbert Mukori - 12 February 2015

ask grace, this fall was a better thing to happen to him than the day he started spoiling his shorts. Manyoka mubhurukwa here vakomana for the reigning president. if it was once better. now countless times. Then you expect this man to LEAD the country. He is in fact Liding it. with a Lid of course.

whitehorse - 12 February 2015

If you set your mobile phone to backup media on the Cloud space which is about 2G then all backed up info can be restored quite easily. Stupid CIO

Tech - 12 February 2015

Mugabe fell on one of his favourite trade mark red carpet and podium show. Mugabe fell in broad daylight and in full view of everyone present. It was a public gathering. How does then these images be labelled "a leak"? as if he fell from his bathroom. For 35 years this primitive culture of gathering at the airport for mugabe has come down to this. Mugabe and his comrades are still stuck in the 70s Mozambique jungles when it comes to technology. Mugabe's fall only confirms that his fate has been decided and is now in "hell's in-tray" awaiting rubber stamping for his arrival.

X-MAN IV - 12 February 2015

In 1983 Joshua Nkomo wrote a strongly worded letter while he was in exile to Mugabe. Mugabe at 57 years at the time had the audacity to tell Nkomo that at 64 years Nkomo was too old to handle the Ministry of Lands & Resettlement yet he himself at 91yesrs reckons he can handle government despite all indications to the contrary. Here is part of Nkomo's letter to Mugabe ----- 69. All these schemes were in the spirit of what I had discussed with you in December, 1981. I had made it plain to you Prime Minister, when I met you in your official residence; that your Resettlement policy was a national disaster, and you agreed with me. These schemes were meant to present practical approach models, to both rural and peri-urban resettlement, that would embrace everybody and not just a few who are said to 'qualify'. 70. But, with full knowledge of all this, you chose to tell a crowd of more than 18,000 people at the Rudaka Stadium in Marondera on the 13th February, 1982, that, "We desire a new richer life for all … and we wish to see changes in people's way of living standards and economic status. But in the midst of all our endeavours our colleagues in Government, were stockpiling and building enough weapons of war to arm 20,000 men". 71. What baffles me even more, is that, you said all the above when you knew that less than 2 months prior to your Marondera meeting, I had offered myself to take over your Ministry of Lands and Resettlement in an effort to assist you and through you, the country to make a success of its most vital development programme. You turned down my offer, saying I was too OLD to handle that Ministry, however, you said you would invite me to be one of the members of a resettlement Ministerial Committee you were about to institute. To you all this meant plotting.

Musona - 12 February 2015

kushaya basa uku.

selele - 12 February 2015

Mugabe akadonha, dai arovera paconcrete nemusoro obva aenda pa comma.

RgMUGABE - 12 February 2015

Zvino manje iyo Recuva yavekuzo tengwa neruzhinji kuti vaone ma picture a mugabe achikisa carpet.

Der - 12 February 2015

Is perhaps not the beginning of the Fall of our great Comrade?

Delele - 13 February 2015

Hmnn Hmnn. Munhu achiregawo basa kana akurawo mhani.

Tony - 13 February 2015

hazvina zvazvino tipa kuseka president. ngati shandisei nguva yedu kuita zvinotibatsira kwete kutsvaga joy mukutambura kwemukuru wedu. vamwe ishungu dzemakore akaraswa sera vachinyora makombozishoni ekare kare. why not suggest things that help our country move forward?

taurai - 13 February 2015


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Dr - 13 February 2015

Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men Could not put Humpty together again.

chikananda robert - 13 February 2015

So what could those personal aides have done to save the situatuon? -Reduce Mugabe 's age and frailty in mili-seconds?

frankly - 13 February 2015

Sekuru is a moslem. He was praying to Allah. Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

Chipoto vhaivhai - 13 February 2015

Over and above recovery software, software is now available whereby any recording by still and video cameras is instantly recorded on servers miles away (more or less in a live recording/broadcast fashion) as well as on the camera itself such that deleting it on the cameras HDD is not deleting it on the Media House's HDD servers. Some of these cameras use mobile specialized wireless communication lines or satellite phone communication technology. Remember Obama & company watched the raid and killing of Osama realtime live and direct. This technology helps those reporting in war zones, otherwise they cannot always be exiting and entering the war zone for the purposes of communicating with the Media House HQ. So with improvement in technology and drop in prices, these video cameras can now be easily purchased by any media organization. As an easy example, if you sent and SMS, a copy is left on you phone and another copy is stored on the mobile operator's servers, until the time they are legally no longer required to keep it. So any media house of the journalists that were present could have used the copy that was saved online in realtime by the video cameras.

Maxwell Christian - 13 February 2015


mccart - 13 February 2015

stop it

gib - 13 February 2015

Just a waste of time and resouces

Gwenaz - 13 February 2015

Comrades, for your own info. journalists go through stuff, they always expect such things as being forced to delete things at times, so they are always far ahead in terms of capturing tech. there are now Online Cameras that will be linked to a server somewhere, as soon as one captures, it automatically sends to the server. so deleting or not, copies are safe somewhere.

John Bopero - 14 February 2015

Good news compared to other publishers

Abednico Shumba - 14 February 2015

Muchiri nenyaya yekudonha kwangu pamasteps, aaaah, koya Tsvangirai yekudonha paMDC presidency. I shall rule this country even from a basket or chair, but never be ruled by Tsvangirai never never in my life.

Ralph - 14 February 2015

When Mugabe was telling Nkomo that he was too old he thought he was going to remain younger for ever what a 91yr old fool . Sekachirema wafa .We said it many many times that this guy is not a leader but a gate crusher . Whether they like it or not he will fall again and again bcoz his legs a frail and can carry him anymore shame .

Diibulaanyika - 14 February 2015

No wonder why its always takarwira nyika ino, takasunungura nyika ino. Deleting pictures from digital storage is pointless coz I can still restore it if I need the pictures. That's not my point. My point is , didn't he fell down? If yes, whose fault was it? This guy is old .Those who still follow him seems not to have grand fathers. advise him to go and rest. We can still do without him

Piaget - 15 February 2015

No wonder why its always takarwira nyika ino, takasunungura nyika ino. Deleting pictures from digital storage is pointless coz I can still restore it if I need the pictures. That's not my point. My point is , didn't he fell down? If yes, whose fault was it? This guy is old .Those who still follow him seems not to have grand fathers. advise him to go and rest. We can still do without him

Piaget - 15 February 2015

This is the worst story I have ever read in Zim newspapers. It was not worth even publishing is as a letter to the editor. It makes all people there at the Daily News look like absolute idiots. On what planet are you living? Don't tell me your cameras don't leave copies of pictures you take so that you can recover it if you delete it by mistake. In this day and age you are still living in the Stone Age! Jonathan Moyo explained everything how the pictures went on to be published even after being deleted. His solution of confiscating the cameras even, won't beat modern technology.

Melusi Mlotshwa - 16 February 2015

dont know bout your phones, G2 ine application that keeps recrd of all photos, calls, videos, emails, sms. It is so creepy. I had to give mine to my 5 year old, ndisati ndabatirwa ma file, lol. Kana ukda deleta, inongoramba iripo chete. technology iyo yamuri kuti shieldir. Tinoiaccessa chete.

Sabhuku - 16 February 2015

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good boy wawa - 17 February 2015

Was it a mechanical failure, or a matter of forgetting due to age - forgetting how to put one foot in front of the other?

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