Birthday wishes starting rolling in for world's oldest leader Mugabe

2015-02-21 11:40
File: AP

File: AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - The T-shirts have been printed and the congratulatory messages for President Robert Mugabe, who turns 91 on Saturday, are already rolling in.

But no-one wishing the longtime Zimbabwean leader a happy birthday will be able to entirely forget the awkward moment when he fell less than a month ago, a Sapa correspondent reported.

Mugabe's party - a lavish spread on the golf course of the swanky Elephant Hills Resort in Victoria Falls - will not be held until 28 February .

If he is back from a Southern African Development Community (SADC) troika meeting in South Africa, his birthday on Saturday will be low-key: most likely a cake presented to the president and his wife by his staff, and Happy Birthday played on state radio.

The official Manica Post newspaper was already littered with birthday messages for Mugabe from schools, individuals and businesses on Friday.

Feasting and glamour

"Chipinge Breezes Lodge management and staff congratulate His Excellency Comrade RG Mugabe on his 91st birthday," read one of them.

The president's chief secretary Misheck Sibanda wrote: "To us who have this unique privilege to work closely with you, you are indeed a living legend of the liberation struggle, a principled leader of immense fortitude of mind and body... ."

"You have, over the years, become an enduring symbol of resistance to imperialist hegemony in all its manifestations," Sibanda said.

Mugabe's supporters are keen to make this the president's best-ever birthday and erase all memories of his undignified stumble on the red carpet at Harare's main airport on February 4.

ZANU-PF officials announced on Friday a free train would be laid on to transport 1,600 supporters from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls next weekend.

Around 100 "21sters" - children born on Mugabe's birthday - will be flown to Victoria Falls to join in the fun. They will be put up free of charge in some of the resort's hotels, reports say.

Government officials have donated money and cattle to the event, rumoured to cost up to US1 million. There is some controversy over the two donated elephants likely to feature on the menu.

A commemorative T-shirt has been made by local designer Xenophon Tome-Garanga, according to state media.

Despite the feasting and the glamour, memories of Mugabe's undignified stumble just will not go away.

Images of the besuited president, arms outspread, keep resurfacing, most recently in a fake Nando's advertisement. On Thursday, the fast food chain distanced itself from the ad, which said "Falling for our chicken is risky business".

Government officials insist Mugabe did not actually fall, but stumbled because of a bump in the carpet.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.