Robert Mugabe’s Birthday Party Criticised


Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (4th R) and first lady Grace Mugabe (2nd R) stand with the presidents birthday cake among guests on the occation of his 89th birthday celebrations held in his honour at the State House, February 20, 2013, the eve of his birthday. Zimbabwe is expected to hold a constitutional referendum on March 16, 2013 and elections in July, which will end the shaky coalition, but no dates have been set.  AFP PHOTO / JEKESAI NJIKIZANA        (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)



Zimbabwe’s ruling party has been criticised for hosting lavish 92nd birthday celebrations for President Robert Mugabe while swathes of the population face food shortages.

The event reportedly cost almost $800,000 (£575,000).

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) called the celebrations “obscene”.

Mr Mugabe has dominated Zimbabwe politics since independence from the UK in 1980.

The event, which was televised and featured schoolchildren reading poetry about the president, was held in the drought-stricken south eastern city of Masvingo.


.

Birth of a Mugabe dynasty?

The elderly leader, accompanied by his wife Grace, released 92 balloons to kick off the event at the Great Zimbabwe monument, with tens of thousands of people attending.

In a speech, Mr Mugabe attacked Western donors, and said he would not accept “rotten, filthy” aid if it was contingent on Zimbabwe accepting same-sex marriages,the government-owned newspaper the Herald reported.

But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the celebrations were “ill-conceived”.

Money used for the event should be used to import maize “to avert the impending starvation” in Masvingo and other areas, said Obert Gutu, a MDC spokesman.

-bbc



Comments