That Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwe president, tripped and fell after a speech at Harare Airport on Wednesday would at the most have been a photo-op. Which it was.

But great dictators, or their acolytes, do not like cameras capturing them in their vulnerable moments. So what happened next was what happens routinely: Zimbabwe's government issued a denial.

"Nobody has shown any evidence of the president having fallen down because that did not happen," Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told the state-owned Zimbabwe Herald.

His confidence was perhaps based on the fact that he thought they had got the evidence destroyed as a number of journalists told the Associated Press they were forced to delete their pictures of the incident by the 90-year-old leader's security personnel.

Some photos clearly survived, as did the video. And they showed up on the internet which of course does not believe in letting such opportunities go waste.

(Via Reddit)

The usual spin followed. "The hump on which the president tripped was formed by two pieces of the carpet which apparently, had not been laid out properly where they joined," Mayo added as a further defence. "And to be honest with you, even Jesus, let alone you, would have also tripped in that kind of situation."

He elaborated: "In the circumstances, there’s really nothing to write home about the nonsensical celebrations by malcontents who are imagining a fall that never was since it was actually broken by the president himself.”

It was inevitable for the Streisand effect to kick in, and it did: the photograph was ruthlessly photoshopped into a meme quicker than an ace coming off a tennis racquet.

The #MugabeFalls meme trended on Twitter and users took turns at taking jibes at the Zimbabwean President who turns 91 on February 21:

Run Mugabe, Run:

Even from animals:

On top of things:

As Michael Jackson:

Yes, he can give it quite a whirl:

Taking on Usain Bolt, the fastest man on Earth:

As an expert surfer:

Just where he belongs:

As an expert Quidditch player?:

Ever the leader: