Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF party is planning to spend $1 million on President Robert Mugabe’s 91st birthday bash this month.
In power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, he turns 91 on February 21. The anniversary is usually celebrated lavishly by the communist-styled February 21st Movement and the economic hardships that the majority of Zimbabweans face have done little to dampen the mood.
A Zanu PF official, Mr Tongai Kasukuwere, on Wednesday told New Zimbabwe.com that they had raised 60 per cent of the money needed for the bash to be held in the resort town of Victoria Falls. “We have sourced more than half of what we want and more companies and individuals are promising to contribute [as the day approaches],” Mr Kasukuwere was quoted saying. “We are looking at a sizeable figure which befits the magnitude of the person whose birthday we are celebrating. To us as Zanu PF youths, this is a moment to celebrate his achievements and greatness and celebrate what he has done for Africa and the world as a whole.”
Last year, Zanu PF said it had spent another $1 million on President Mugabe’s 90th birthday bash.
The money was raised from donations by individuals and companies. Zimbabwe has been struggling to pay civil servants since the veteran ruler won a controversial election in 2013, with the economy continuing to take a severe knock.
Despite his advanced age, President Mugabe has indicated that he would not be stepping down soon.
Last December, he was elected to lead Zanu PF for another five years and would be the party’s presidential candidate when Zimbabwe holds general elections in 2018.
President Mugabe’s health has also been subject to unending rumours with some reports alleging that he is suffering from prostate cancer. Early this month he caused a stir at the Harare International Airport when he tripped and fell after addressing Zanu PF supporters soon after arriving from the African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia.
He was elected to chair the AU for one year at the summit.