Zim opposition youths protest against Mugabe's birthday party

2016-02-24 07:59

Special Report

Dinner with Grace: Five stories from Zimbabwe
Dinner with Grace: Five stories from Zimbabwe

As Zimbabwe sinks deeper into economic crisis, Zimbabwe corporates are being asked to fork out as much as $100 000 for a top table at a Zanu-PF fundraising dinner - where Grace Mugabe will be the guest of honour.

Harare  A group of youths belonging to Zimbabwe's opposition have protested against plans to hold another birthday party for President Robert Mugabe in Masvingo this weekend.

Mugabe's staff held a 'surprise' 92nd birthday party for the president on Monday in Harare, complete with an elaborate cake, the official Chronicle newspaper reported.

A photograph posted to Twitter by Morgan Tsvangirai ally, Chalton Hwende, showed a small group of youths holding posters demonstrating along a major street in Masvingo. One of the posters read, "We want jobs not bash" in a reference to the birthday party, due to be held on Saturday in the drought-stricken province.

Said @hwende: "MDC-T Youths today [Tuesday] in Masvingo demonstrated against the hosting of a $800 000 (R12 million) Mugabe birthday party."

Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said he had heard that members of the party's youth assembly had staged a demonstration in Masvingo but he was unable to give further details.

Not such a surprise party

He hinted that there would be more "activity" in the next few days.

Mugabe's first birthday party was actually not a surprise at all, the Chronicle reported the president as saying. "Every year, I now know that once I strike another birthday, this event is bound to follow," he said.

Footage of the party showed Mugabe and his wife Grace seated on a pink sofa while his staff sang several verses of Happy Birthday. 

Mugabe's daughter, Bona, helped him cut a giant four-tiered birthday cake. Messages on the cake read, "Mighty Gushungo" [Mugabe's clan name] and "Makorokoto [Congratulations] Your Excellency".

The Chronicle said the event was a "small function."

Former Finance Minister Simba Makoni said on Twitter that families in Masvingo province were being "coerced" into contributing $1 (US) towards funding the party. Makoni is a former member of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Mugabe's main birthday cake normally weighs the same number of kilograms as his age. 

This year's cake will therefore almost certainly weigh 92 kg.

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