Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe stands next to his Birthday cake at State House in Harare, Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. Office staff in the President's office organized a surprise birthday celebration ahead of bigger birthday celebration set for Saturday in the southern town of Masvingo. Mugabe, the world's oldest leader, turned 92 Sunday with no plans to step down as feuding over his successors threatens to tear his ruling ZANU-PF party apart. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

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Zimbabwe Opposition Youths Protest Against Mugabe’s Birthday Party


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.

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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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