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Zimbabwe Youth Want to Block Mugabe's $800,000 Birthday Bash

FILE: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (4th R) and first lady Grace Mugabe (2nd R) stand with the presidents birthday cake among guests on the occasion of his 89th birthday celebrations held in his honour at the State House, the eve of his birthday, February 20

Some youths in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo city are planning to stage peaceful protests over plans by the ruling Zanu PF party to host President Robert Mugabe’s lavish birthday party in the province hard-hit by a crippling drought.

The Masvingo chapter of the Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy or YARD says its youth will stage the protests on Friday, a day before the ruling party hosts an $800,000 birthday party for President Mugabe at Great Zimbabwe monuments.

YARD coordinator for Masvingo province, Munyaradzi Rushaya, told Studio 7 more than 200 youths are expected to take part in the peaceful demonstrations that are designed to disrupt and ultimately stop the lavish event.

Rushiya said President Mugabe and his inner circle cannot be spending thousands of dollars while the majority of people in the province and other parts of the country can hardly have a decent meal a day due to the severe drought gripping the country.

“On Friday 26 we will be holding a peaceful demonstration in the town of Masvingo. We are demonstrating against the idea of holding birthday celebrations in the province facing drought.

"They are investing over $800,000 to drink beer and eat cakes. As youth we begin to wonder what kind of a leader is he who thinks of beer when the people are starving and suffering.”

He also said his organization is determined to stop the birthday bash as they have the backing of other young people from various political parties.

“We are definitely going to stop the party. We have members from various parties and we are saying the president was supposed to use the money to import grain from neighbouring countries to feed the people. Eight hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money that can feed the whole province up to August.”

YARD said it has informed the police about the intended peaceful demonstrations. Police were not available for comment.

“We are law abiding citizens and we have notified the police. We are expecting to that the security forces will descend on us but that will not take us back. We will go ahead with the demo
and our comrades from other cities will be joining us.

The demonstration comes amid reports that some sections of disgruntled ruling party officials and war veterans were allegedly planning to disrupt the birthday party following heightened friction in Zanu PF over the succession of 92-year-old President Mugabe.