On February the 21st President Robert Gabriel Mugabe celebrates his 89th birthday. For 33 of those years he has been in total control of the hopes and aspirations of Zimbabweans. It is has been claimed by himself and others, including senior clerics in Zimbabwe, that he was anointed by God.
This birthday week the president is quoted in the state Herald newspaper saying God has charged him to serve Zimbabwe and he has pledged to carry on the "divine task" without backtracking.
Critics say if this is the case then Almighty God has been punishing the people of Zimbabwe severely.
Zimbabwe has 90% unemployment, over 60% have no food, water, electricity or medicine. Is this really God's plan for the people of Zimbabwe?
The president received 89 cows, one for each year for his life, from Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono. His followers took out a 16 page supplement in the state controlled Herald newspaper, praising him and saying he is "still going strong and is mentally and physically as fit as ever, ripening with each passing day like good old wine."
But a recent survey by the Mass Public Opinion Institute, which suggests that Mugabe's ZANU PF party is likely to win the forthcoming general elections, also revealed that most Zimbabweans interviewed were living in abject poverty, with Matabeleland North standing out as the area most hit by starvation, with 91% of the people saying they 'sometimes' or 'always' lacked enough food to eat.
ZANU PF has blamed the economic collapse in the country on sanctions imposed by western countries, but critics say Mugabe's violent land reform program, the catastrophic indigenisation plans, plus rampant corruption are the main culprits.
Despite this some of the birthday tributes on social media forums read:
"Long live Cde. Mugabe. You are an Africa Hero and nobody's puppet."
"I wish President Mugabe well, many more years and pray that god grants him many years to account for all his omissions and commissions."
Meanwhile, the UK based Zimbabwe Vigil said it plans to celebrate the president's birthday by petitioning South African President Jacob Zuma, through the SA High Commission in London, insisting on the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement reforms ahead of the elections.