President Robert Mugabe plans to hold a massive bash costing $9 million to celebrate his 92nd birthday in Masvingo, one of the provinces worst affected by drought, where people and animals are starving.
Mugabe’s birthday celebrations will take place at state expense on February 27 2016 at the Great Zimbabwe monument, according to officials. The programme includes a carnival organised by the loss-making parastatal Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, where half naked women will parade for the dictator’s pleasure, a beauty pageant and an all-night gala dinner in his honour. Thousands of relatives, government and party officials have been invited to drink imported champagne and feast on the choicest meats.
Diplomats said it was inappropriate for Mugabe to blow $9 million on a birthday feast while begging for help from the international community to feed Zimbabweans. The United States and United Kingdom have already donated $100 million to feed 300 000 drought victims over the next 10 months through cash payments of $35 per month for each of the targeted households. Some 2.7 million who need state assistance have failed to get any help.
Mugabe last week belatedly declared the 2015-16 agricultural season a disaster due to drought and sent out a request for hundreds of millions of dollars to feed the hungry and save animals, claiming his government did not have money.
Masvingo province is facing a huge disaster with cattle on the verge of death being sold for as little as $15 each, according to a report presented to parliament last week.
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