Ninety-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe fell on Wednesday after addressing a crowd at Harare Airport.
The incident, witnessed by newsmen, increased concern about his health, but his Spokesman, George Charamba, said the president had “just missed a step’’ when coming down from the podium.
Mugabe had just returned from Addis Ababa, where he had assumed the chairmanship of the African Union.
He was quickly helped to stand by his aides and escorted away.
Press photographers said that security guards forced them to delete pictures of the president lying on the floor.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 and refused to appoint a successor, frequently visited the Far East for medical check-ups.
The government had denied that the president suffered from any serious health problems.
Images released recently showed him sleeping at several meetings.
Mugabe is due to hold his 91st birthday bash on Feb. 28
in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
The opposition in that country had criticised the president for spending millions of dollars on party while failing to revive the country’s ailing economy.