Photographers 'forced to delete pictures of Mugabe's stumble'

President Robert Mugabe appeared to miss a step and fall Credit: AP

Photographers in Zimbabwe claim they were forced to delete photographs taken as 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe tripped down a small flight of steps.

Mugabe had finished an address to supporters in Harare, following his triumphant return from Ethiopia, where he was elected chairman of the 54-nation African Union on Friday.

But when he left the raised lectern, he appeared to miss a step and tumbled, landing on his hands and knees on the red carpet.

Mugabe's aides ran to his side Credit: AP

His aides rushed to his side to help him up, before bundling him into his limousine and driving off.

While the Associated Press has released footage of the stumble, local press photographers - who wished to remain anonymous - complained Mugabe's security personnel forced them to delete their images of the incident.

Mugabe, who celebrates his 91st birthday on February 21, is a controversial figure accused by human rights groups of using widespread violence to secure a win at a number of disputed elections.

His government began seizing white-owned farms in 2000, damaging Zimbabwe's once-prosperous economy.

He has repeatedly insisted that he is as "fit as two fiddles"