Violence is 'not the way', says Mugabe at 95th birthday bash

23 February 2019 - 19:46 By NJABULO NCUBE
Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. File photo.
Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. File photo.
Image: JAMES OATWAY

Song and dance bellowed from the Blue Roof mansion in the usually quiet upmarket Borrowdale suburb, as hundreds of invited guests on Saturday attended the birthday party for former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

The guests were celebrating the former statesman's 95th birthday at a private ceremony at his lavish Harare home. The event was held under the theme “a living legend”.

There were strictly no children allowed at the function, which had a black and gold dress code.

Mugabe’s children organised the birthday party, which was strictly by invite.

His eldest daughter, Bona, and son-in law, Simba Chikore, were the main organisers. Bona is said to have put the guest list together.

Notable among the guests was Gideon Gono, the former central bank governor and the Mugabe’s personal banker.

Family members, among them his wife, Grace, wished the 95-year-old Mugabe a long life.

During a short speech at the event, Grace said she would stand by her husband until the very end.

Mugabe, in his speech, criticised the heavy-handedness of the military against citizens under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

"Some people think that being a leader means killing people and beating people, but that is not the way. Even the fallen heroes would not approve of that,” said Mugabe.

“We are hearing there are graves that have been created by the army when they kill people. It is not the task of the army to lead the people with guns. Let us not be killers of our own people," he added.

Human rights groups said 17 people died last month from protests that broke out linked to a fuel price hike.

Mugabe said the actions of the leaders would soon come back to haunt them.

“Soldiers should take their rightful place and fight when the situation demands. They should be protectors of people and I am not scared to say it,” said Mugabe.

Guests were served an array of local and foreign delicacies by chefs hired for the event.

The menu included sirloin, pig on the spit, grilled chicken and salads, along with a range of desserts.

The party was scheduled to go up until late into the night, having kicked off at 2pm.

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