The strange sight was unexpected by his retinue of aids and protocol unit. On Thursday President Robert Mugabe 93, said Zimbabweans should be happy that there haven’t been any power cuts for the last 15 months.

“We all should be pleased that since January 2016 the country achieved a 15-month period without load shedding,” said the long-time leader speaking at the 37th Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium.

Load shedding was particularly severe at the height of Zimbabwe’s hyper-inflationary crisis around 2007 when the country experienced regular blackouts and electricity was at times supplied only for a few hours in the middle of the night.

Power cuts persisted during the years of the 2009-13 coalition government, annoying watchers of the FIFA World Cup in 2010.

But severe load shedding came to a halt at the beginning of last year in a development linked then to a reduced demand for electricity within major supplier South Africa, which freed up power for export to Zimbabwe.

Though interruptions in power supply still happen in Zimbabwe, they are often blamed on “faults”.

During his Independence Day speech, Mugabe praised what he said were improvements in the health and education sectors and said the authorities were trying to encourage industrial development.

According to the aged leader, the country is ripe to host a world cup tournament, and he would leave no stone unturn  to achieve that.