Harare -President Robert Mugabe’s 91st birthday party is an “obscene jamboree” and should be cancelled, Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on Wednesday.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led party said while it wished the Zimbabwean leader a happy birthday, he was “way past his prime” and should no longer be in power.
“No matter what his Zanu-PF spin doctors might want to say, Mugabe has seen better days and he is now a big liability to the generality of the people of Zimbabwe for as long as he remains as the county’s head of state and chief executive,” spokesman Obert Gutu said in a statement.
Mugabe turns 91 on Saturday.
His supporters are organising a huge party for him on February 28 in Victoria Falls – even though Zimbabwe’s economy is again teetering on the brink of downturn.
According to press reports Zanu-PF is trying to raise $1 million for the event, although the ruling party has not confirmed this figure.
“All the money that has been collected to bankroll this obscene jamboree should be immediately channelled towards rehabilitating the collapsed public hospitals, clinics and rural schools in Matebeleland North province where Victoria Falls is located,” said Gutu.
“Any food items and other materials that have been donated for Mugabe’s birthday bash should be handed over to the Jairos Jiri centre and other orphanages in Bulawayo.”
A farmer living near Victoria Falls has already donated two elephants and other game to help feed the 20 000 delegates likely to attend the event, to be held on the golf course of the plush Elephant Hills resort.
Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980. His fall earlier this month while descending a podium at Harare International Airport made global headlines. His party insists a bump in the carpet was to blame, not his advanced age.