Zimbabwe: Mugabe was not snoozing, he was nodding in agreement - minister
Christopher Mushohwe said in a statement that government had been forced to react to "malicious" reports that the 92-year-old president had dropped off to sleep during a press conference with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo this week.
Calling the claims "cruel" and "spiteful", Mushohwe said: "The motive was to injure and damage the reputation of our president in a big way."
A video clip of the president closing his eyes while he listens to Abe pledge financial assistance has been widely circulated and reported on in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe has previously been photographed nodding off during speeches. The most recent occasion was at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa in January.
Said Mushohwe: "Any sane person watching that video clip would dismiss the propaganda story with the contempt it deserves."
The statement was issued late on Friday.
Unfortunately for Mugabe, all eyes are now on him at any public function following two humiliating stumbles on the red carpet in 2015.
His official photographer Joseph Nyambuya told Zimbabwean state media this year that when Mugabe closes his eyes, he is actually "deepening [his] concentration".
Press watchdog @ZimMediaReview said: "The government has found it necessary to release a statement denying Mugabe was snoozing."