Harare – Zimbabweans have reportedly been urged to donate at least 150 cattle towards President Robert Mugabe's upcoming birthday celebrations later this month.
Mugabe turns 93 on February 21.
The nonagenarian has been in power since 1980 when the southern African country attained its independence from colonial Britain.
Over the past years, the long time ruler has been known for extravagant birthday celebrations - which usually would cost millions of dollars.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, this year's birthday bash organisers said they aimed at raising at least 150 heads of cattle to feed about 100 000 guests.
A Zanu-PF lawmaker Never Khanye said that the donations were voluntary, but that large-scale farmers in Matabeleland South, where the celebrations would be held, must donate a cow each to show appreciation of the long-time leader.
"We have set a target to raise 150 cattle for the event. We are appealing to well-wishers to do so willingly and not to come again tomorrow and say we were forced.
"All A2 farmers who got offer letters must donate a beast each for this event and those that will fail we will take it that they don't appreciate what the president has done for them," Khanye was quoted as saying.
Last month the ruling Zanu-PF youth league said that Mugabe's birthday should be celebrated like Christmas Day.
The party's national youth leader, Kudzai Chipanga maintained at the time that the veteran leader's birthday should not be treated like an "ordinary day".
"To us, February 21 is not just a day. To us, it is a special day we treat in the same manner Christians treat December 25, the birthday of Jesus Christ. I don't want to be blasphemous, but in my humble view, President Mugabe is second to Jesus Christ. He is our saviour, so his birthday means a lot for us the youths of Zimbabwe,” Chipanga was quoted as saying.