Zimbabwe’s ex-president Robert Mugabe is reportedly not going to have his regular extravagant birthday celebrations this year despite the 21st of February being declared a public holiday.
Born on February 21, 1924, Mugabe trained as a teacher and taught in what was then Rhodesia and Ghana before returning home to join the guerrilla war against white-minority rule.
He became prime minister after Zimbabwe attained its independence from Britain in 1980. He later became president in 1987.
Mugabe was, however, removed from power last year, following a military takeover that led to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration in November.
Mugabe has held several lavish birthday parties over the past decade across the southern African country.
The hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the festivities provoked outrage each year, given Zimbabwe’s fragile economic situation.
But, according to NewsDay, this year, the ruling Zanu-PF party’s youth league has said that Mugabe’s birthday will be a l,ow key event.
Acting Information minister and Zanu-PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed that there would not be public celebrations this year for the veteran politician.
“It is a youth event. The youth have said they will clean-up the cities. But the party will send its well wishes and a cake. It is a day we treasure and we revere the former president,” Moyo was quoted as saying.
It was not clear whether the former president was part of the process, with suggestions he had snubbed his former party colleagues.
The leader of Zanu-PF’s youth league, Pupurai Togarepi, last month said that the party would continue to honour the deposed leader.
“Since February 21 has been declared a national holiday, we are taking advantage of that day to honour Mugabe. As youths, we will embark on charitable work as well as spend some time with the former president. We want to have a cake and share with him. This, for us, will be a small event unlike previous ones,” he said.