Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, is set to host the mother of all birthdays as he prepares to slaughter 500 cattle in an extravagant bash when he turns 85 this month.
According to reports, Mugabe’s 21st February Movement will hold a fund raising dinner to raise funds for his birthday party next week, with targets of as much as 50 cattle from the country’s 10 provinces.
The party, which has been called “insensitive and shocking” by many, has been deferred from February 21 to 28, and will be held in Chinhoyi amid a backdrop of 7 million Zimbabweans urgently needing food aid.
Invitations have already gone out for the bash which will also see Mugabe’s supporters being treated to 2 000 bottles of Moet and Chandon and 61 Bollinger champagne, 500 bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label whisky, 400 portions of caviar and 8,000 lobsters.
Revealing the massive plans, Chairperson of the Fund Raising Committee, Temba Mliswa, indicated that nntertainment will be provided by the Police Band, and the Airforce of Zimbabwe Dance group. “Because we want to raise as much funds as we can to make this great day a success, we are also holding raffles on the day of the dinner dance and winners will get Air Zimbabwe tickets, Econet Wireless lines as well as Net*One lines, among other prizes.”
At least 100 cattle have been donated by “well-wishers” in what has been described as an unprecedented feast in a country facing mass starvation.
“In the event of receiving the anticipated 50 cattle from each district, our aim is to donate the extra beats to identified projects in the province,” Mliswa said, limiting the outrage that his project is expected to draw.
Mugabe’s planned official birthday bash, has already provoked a storm of criticism for its extravagance.
Zimbabwe, once known for its economic and agricultutral success is now the world’s third largest food aid operation, after Afghanistan. The country has an estimated population of 12 million out of which a quarter has moved abroad due to a whopping 94% unemployment rate and also for political reasons. With an estimated 9 million resident population the UN World Food Programme estimates last month showed that over 75 percent would already be in need of food aid.