Lilongwe – A picture of Malawian President Peter Mutharika falling down outside of Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe during a tree-planting ceremony on Friday has gone viral on social media.
The picture was first posted on the front page of the Malawi Sunday Times newspaper and depicted the president being helped out by the presidential detail.
Social media users took to Twitter, with some members of the public sympathising with the head of state. They argued that it showed he was human.
Why are we still talking about Mutharika's fall? He tripped on friday. Is he still on the ground? Haa AMalawi please. #NotNewsWorthy— A Beautiful Mind (@JaneChirwa) January 25, 2016
Others however, poked fun of his fall.
President Mutharika plants himself on the ground, instead of a tree …and the Internet is not amused With... https://t.co/K8TBl8fdAx
— IG: @Malawi24_ (@Malawi24) January 25, 2016
Meanwhile, some expressed concern over Mutharika's health, especially after he failed to attend the annual John Chilembwe commemorations in Chiradzulu on January 15, according to Nyasa Times. He also failed to attend the burial ceremony of one the country's prominent politicians, Rose Chibambo, on January 16.
Malawi's Pres Mutharika took a fall during a tree planting ceremony-rumors he is 'incarcerated' govt source tells me it's 'not that bad'— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) January 25, 2016
The presidency, however, dismissed reports, saying he was "well".
Presidential press secretary Gerald Viola spoke to Capital FM Malawi and said that Mutharika was fine and that no medical personnel had been flown in from South Africa to attend to him, as indicated by some reports.
"The president is fine. He is not sick. He is ill... If you talk about the slipping of the president that happened yesterday [Friday], it's normal, it's just like any other human being...," Viola said.
Viola said Mutharika stood on a "rotten" brick which broke and resulted in the president slipping.
Listen to the audio below.
Mutharika also confirmed on a Facebook page widely believed to be his that there was "nothing to worry about".
"Falling down is not a crime. Anyone can fall down. Its just a matter of slipperly place and how you have walked. I have fallen down so many times when i was a child. You should know that when a person is growing old, is like a small child who can easily fall down. How many times have you fallen down? So many times. Do not waste your time talking about somebody's fall because tomorrow its you. Check what has made you to fall down and not where you have fallen down," Mutharika wrote.