Zimbabwe opposition youths protest Mugabe 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.
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 contributinf $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.