Zimbabwe celebrates Mugabe's birthday: not everyone is happy
Robert Mugabe celebrates his 85th birthday today in Zimbabwe, and thousands of people in Zimbabwe gathered for the celebration, despite the fact that the country is struggling with a cholera epidemic (83,000 have been affected so far) and extreme poverty.
Mugabe's birthday is February 21st, but the celebrations for the whole country were held today. His supporters raised more than 250,000 US dollars to fund the celebration, which included buying a 187 pound birthday cake.
Banners held by the crowd said 'Mugabe: a great leader who never lets his people down'.
At the same time this celebration is happening, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is asking the international community for five billion dollars in aid to the country. Tsvangirai will attend the celebration however today.
Zimbabwe is a nation stricken by death and destruction. It needs money to rebuild schools, hospitals, fund medical programmes and finally form a stable government.
Mugabe addressed the crowd that gathered there, but not all residents could attend his birthday, such as Leo Matiyashe, a shop keeper:
"I am in business looking for money and I cannot afford to close my shop to attend the birthday party."
A youth wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with Mugabe's face headed towards the venue of the celebration, eager for a glimpse of the controversial Mugabe who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980.
"The president is my hero. He has done a lot for this country and I will be happy just to see him," he said.