Mugabe's birthday 'like no other'


Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday celebrated his 94th birthday quietly at home with his family, a far cry from the lavish parties the politician enjoyed while in power.

Mr Mugabe was forced to resign in November last year after the military took over the government and has been confined to his Harare mansion most of the time.

Before his ouster, the government had declared February 21 a public holiday known as Youth Day.

Forced into exile

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new government scrapped the former leader’s traditional lavish celebrations that had become a common feature in the last 32 years of Mr Mugabe’s long rule.

Former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who was forced into exile during the army takeover, posted pictures of the former ruling party leader and his wife Grace Mugabe, saying the family celebrated the day at their Harare home.

Prof Moyo accused President Mnangagwa of undermining Mr Mugabe’s legacy by choosing to commission the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) wagons leased from a South African company.

“The launch of this NRZ project by (President Mnangagwa) on a public holiday to mark the first RGM National Youth Day disrespects President Mugabe whose legacy the junta claims it seeks to restore and insults the youth who the day honours,” Prof Moyo said.

The former minister claims the new government was ill-treating Zimbabwe’s first ruler after independence from Britain in 1980.

Meanwhile, clean-up campaigns organised by Zanu-PF youths to mark their former leader’s birthday did not take place.

Communist style

Zanu-PF, which used to organise the lavish birthday celebrations under the communist style 21st February Movement, had said the clean-up campaigns would be used to honour President Mugabe’s legacy.

Besides the birthday messages and congratulatory messages by government departments and the State controlled media, the former ruler also used to mark his birthday with a long television interview.

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