Mugabe not asleep in meetings, he's protecting eyes: Report

A spokesman says Zimbabwe's 93-year-old president isn't sleeping in meetings. He's just protecting his eyes.

The state-run Herald newspaper on Thursday quoted spokesman George Charamba as saying President Robert Mugabe can't take bright lights. He spoke after Mugabe left this week for medical treatment for his eyes in Singapore.

"I feel like a failure when there is this reading that the president is sleeping in conferences, no," Charamba said.

Mugabe's weakening health is being watched carefully in this southern African nation. Images of him struggling to walk on a red carpet and toppling from a raised lectern in 2015 have trended on social media and become the butt of jokes.

He has been in power since 1980 and says he will run for election again next year.