$1m for Mugabe's 88th birthday bash
Cape Town - Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe is set to spend $1m on birthday celebrations next week amid reports that many families in his country are scavenging for food and millions remain out of work following years of economic and political strife, The Zimbabwe Mail reported on Sunday.
According to the report, Mugabe is to treat himself to some lavish celebrations of his 88th birthday where he would be joined by hundreds of guests from his Zanu-PF party in the country’s eastern city of Mutare.
"Provinces around the country have been forced to dip into their coffers to help pay for the bash, which is expected to cost around $1m," the report said.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has condemned the celebrations saying "it is a total waste of taxpayers' money".
"This is a total waste of taxpayers' money and typical of the attitude of Zanu-PF," said Douglas Mwonzora, an MDC spokesperson.
"Right now we are faced with a situation of food shortages in some parts of the country. This needs to be addressed and Zanu-PF isn't doing that. Instead they are spending a million dollars on the birthday of an 88-year-old president.
"The money could be spent on food and books. Mugabe is totally out of touch with reality. He has a bloated ego and he thinks Zimbabweans like what he is doing."
Mwonzora added: "I think he is the only president in the world who spends so much money on his birthday. I don't think President Obama or Prime Minister Cameron do it. Mugabe is the president of a poor African country and should be condemned."
Every year Mugabe is treated to a lavish birthday celebration organised by a youth group in his Zanu-PF party known as the 21 February Movement.