89 kilo cake for Mugabe's 89th birthday bash
Posted Monday, March 4 2013 at 10:14
The police have also launched a crackdown against non government organisations that are accused of distributing cheap hand cranked and solar powered radios to villagers to listen to radio stations run by exiled Zimbabwean journalists.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, celebrating his 89th birthday on Saturday, said he believes he will win another five year-term in crucial elections expected later this year.
The veteran ruler, who hosts the lavish celebrations every year, cut an 89 kilogramme cake and was presented with minted coins to mark the occasion.
His Zanu-PF party said $600 000 had been collected for the bash from private companies and individuals.
The 20,000 strong crowd was treated to expensive food and drinks in the small mining town of Bindura about 90 kilometres north east of Harare.
In his speech, President Mugabe who last year visited Singapore more than five times seeking medical help, said he was confident that Zanu-PF would reverse the 2007 election setback where it lost control of Parliament for the first time since independence.
He accused his coalition partners of claiming an upsurge in cases of political violence allegedly perpetrated by Zanu-PF to cover up for their impending defeat in the polls likely to be held in July..
“Wherever there is a funeral, even if the person has been gored by a bull, they say it is Zanu-PF,” President Mugabe said, drawing laughter from the stadium.” Even if someone falls from a vehicle, they say it is Zanu-PF.
“They have a problem that they blame anyone who dies on Zanu-PF. This is a disease not in Zanu-PF.”
The inclusive government the veteran ruler formed with former fierce rival and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009 after bloody polls was split last week after a 12 year-old boy was burnt to death in a suspected politically motivated arson attack.
Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accused a Zanu-PF minister of being behind the killing of the son of its official Shepherd Maisiri in Manicaland Province.
President Mugabe had no kind words for the United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton whom he accused of taking sides in the case.
“I heard the ambassador commenting on the Headlands incident even before investigations had commenced and the preliminary report had ruled out foul play. His comments were in line with the MDC,” he said. “If he wants to support the MDC on the basis of dishonesty let him do so.”
Zanu-PF accuses the United States and Britain of sponsoring the MDC to push for President Mugabe’s ouster.
Officials from the two other parties in the inclusive government did not attend the celebrations, which they described as too costly in a country where more than half of the population relies on food handouts from donors.
Mr Tsvangirai was in the Midlands province campaigning for a new constitution that would be put to a referendum on March 16.
President Mugabe used the celebrations, broadcast live on national television, to shower him with gifts and praises.