Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe "appears to be using his wife Grace as his unofficial walking aide as age catches up with the 93-year-old veteran ruler," News Day reported on Thursday.
The privately owned newspaper described how Mugabe held tightly on his wife's hand as he came down the stairs of an Air Zimbabwe plane soon after his arrival in Harare from the recently ended United Nations General Assembly in New York.
"He would not let go of his wife's hand until finding his seat at the high table in preparation to address thousands of Zanu-PF supporters bussed in to welcome him..." at the Harare International airport, the report said.
In her prayer, a Zanu-PF supporter, who was asked to pray before the start of the event, reportedly said: "Dear Lord, bless our First Lady Dr Amai Grace Mugabe, she is our president's walking aide, supporting our president."
A video of Mugabe struggling to walk to the podium to deliver his speech at the UN recently went viral, inspiring memes.
The video showed Mugabe tottering to the podium to deliver his speech, with his elbows out to maintain his balance.
Some Zimbabweans were quick to come up with their own versions, calling the whole "act" a 'Bob jive', or the 'Mugabe step'.
The walk now appeared to have become the Mugabe's trademark podium shuffle, if this video clip of the president stepping forward to make a speech to his supporters at the Harare International Airport was anything to go by.
This guy absolutely nailed the Mugabe shuffle 😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/D04Uw14TsY— BeardDrogo 🇿🇼/🇿🇦 (@Mr_SuitUp) September 26, 2017
Laughs aside - the video clips do reveal Mugabe's ever-increasing frailty, and were likely to raise questions on his fitness to engage in a gruelling re-election campaign next year.
Though he may be showing his age physically, his lieutenants still evidently felt he was up to the task.
In a speech to welcome the nonagenarian home on Monday, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Mugabe was like the biblical David who stood up to President Donald Trump, who he likened to Goliath, at the UN General Assembly.Suggest a correction