via Zanu PF plans US$1m Mugabe birthday bash 28/01/2014 NewZimbabwe
ZANU PF plans to raise up to $1 million for a grand birthday party for President Robert Mugabe who turns 90 next month and continues to lead the country 34 years after its independence.
“This is a very special celebration. Turning 90 is no mean feat,” Absalom Sikhosana, Zanu PF’s secretary for youth affairs told reporters Tuesday.
“You cannot turn 90 years when you are a womanizer, a drunkard or a chain smoker. We will be celebrating the life of a very special person on a very special occasion.
“Preparations are going on very well and we are grateful with the support we are getting from the business community. We will be holding a fundraising gala on 7 February.
“May we stress that no one other than the Zanu PF youths leadership will be allowed to spearhead the fundraising campaign.”
Sikhosana said the Zanu PF youth league, usually tasked with organising the celebrations, was targeting to raise between US$700,000 to one million U.S. dollars for the event.
Mugabe, born in 1924, has ruled the country since its independence in 1980.
He is now the oldest head of state in Africa and comes second in the world, only after Shimon Peres of Israel.
The octogenarian leader beat his long-time rival former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai in presidential election last July, winning a mandate to rule another five years.
He will turn 94 when his term of office ends in 2018.
Despite an advanced age, Mugabe appears to remain fit. He still delivers hours-long impromptu speeches at public gatherings and frequently flies out of the country for regional and international meetings.
Officials have repeatedly denied claims the president suffers from prostate cancer, maintaining that he only had mild eye ailment. The president had cataracts removed in Singapore in 2011.
Mugabe has also been successful to keep the public guessing on who will be his appointed heir in the ruling party.
But in interviews before the July 31 election last year, Mugabe said he did not have a favoured successor, insisting it is for the people to decide who will lead the country and the party after him.