Longtime Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has been known to close his eyes in public, has told schoolchildren that they must “remember to guard against dozing off during lessons.”
Mugabe, 93, was addressing children gathered at an indoor sports centre in Harare for a big party on the eve of Independence Day commemorations.
As a few children amid the sea of royal blue, burgundy and white uniforms jostled excitedly during the president’s speech, Mugabe joked that they must not “feel tempted to turn lessons into a siesta”.
The father of three, who is himself a former teacher, urged the children to behave well in school.
“You must remember that we took our land back from our erstwhile colonisers… you are the inheritors of it,” Mugabe said in reference to the land reform programme that was launched in Zimbabwe in 2000.
The southern African nation marks 37 years of independence from white colonial rule on Tuesday.
There have been claims – and even apparent video evidence – that Mugabe sometimes naps during meetings.
One such time was during a press conference with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe in April last year.
Information Minister Christopher Mushohwe insisted then, however that Mugabe was merely nodding his head in agreement
Mugabe’s official photographer has said that when the president closes his eyes, he’s actually “deepening his concentration”.
Schoolchildren may do well to remember that phrase.