Mugabe Hosts $250K Party in Starving Zimbabwe

Cholera, hyperinflation, land grabs... Let's dance!
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2009 1:50 PM CST
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, centre, prepares to release balloons into the air during his 85th birthday celebrations in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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(Newser) – More than half of his country is starving, just 10% have jobs, and nearly 4,000 have died of cholera since August, but none of that has stopped Robert Mugabe from partying. Zimbabwe’s president spent $250,000 on his 85th birthday bash today, which included a 187-pound cake, the BBC reports. The celebration comes just days after Zimbabwe asked other African countries for $2 billion in aid.

One Mugabe critic called the party “obscene, and a sign of insensitive leadership.” Morgan Tsvangirai didn’t show up, despite earlier signaling he might. “People should not read this as a snub,” said a Mugabe spokesman. “He excused himself.” Mugabe took the occasion to say there’d be “no going back” on his move to seize farms from white farmers, despite a South African Development Community tribunal declaring it illegal. (Read more Robert Mugabe stories.)