Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe does not sleep when he closes his eyes for long periods in public events, his spokesman said on Thursday.
His spokesman, George Charamba said the 93-year-old leader only rests his eyes from bright lights.
Mugabe has regularly had his eyes closed at recent appearances, including when he appeared on a discussion panel at last week’s World Economic Forum meeting in South Africa.
“I feel like a failure when there is this reading that the President is sleeping in conferences, no,” his spokesman George Charamba was quoted as saying in the state-run Herald newspaper.
“At 93, there is something that happens to the eyes and the President cannot suffer bright lights. If you look at his poise, he looks down, avoids direct lighting.”
He said Nelson Mandela’s eyes were also sensitive to flash photography after years of working in a limestone quarry when he was imprisoned on Robben Island.
“You were not allowed to even use flashes whenever he was in the room,” he said.
Mugabe, who has trouble walking unaided, is in Singapore on one of his regular medical trips.
Charamba said the president was receiving specialised treatment for his eyes and that his general health was good.