Voice of America (Washington, DC)

23 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Celebrates 90th Birthday

President Mugabe's interview on the eve of his 90th birthday. ( Resource: President Mugabe's Interview on the Eve of His 90th Birthday

Harare — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe celebrated his 90th birthday Sunday in Marondera, about 70 kilometers east of Harare.

During a speech that laste more than an hour, Africa's oldest leader said he would not allow homosexuality in Zimbabwe. He said it promoted the spread of HIV/AIDS. "We are created as men and women so that we can have children. So there we are; use your organs properly. If you use them improperly, they will reject you and say; 'Aah, you have misused us," he said.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980, also said he would fight corruption. He spoke a few days after some senior officials from the national airline were arrested on corruption charges involving more than $10 million.

After his speech, Mugabe cut several cakes, one of them said to be weighing 90 kilograms. Then his supporters started giving presents, including 90 head of livestock. One businessman gave him $20,000 cash.

Former student leader Twoboy Mugwadi was one of the thousands who attended Mugabe's birthday party. "Today is a nice day. I think it is a nice day for every Zimbabwean and for every African because we are celebrating the life of one the icons of Africa. The struggle of Africa has always been the agenda of the man we are celebrating today," he stated.

Cynthia Marwa, a mother of two, says she got land from a former white commercial farmer for nothing, thanks to Mugabe's land reform. "So I am proud of my president and my country," she said.

The party is believed to have cost about $1 million. Members of Zimbabwe's opposition did not attend the birthday celebrations, to protest Mugabe's failure to heal the country's bleeding economy.

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The country's leader remains firmly in control of the government with considerable support, with no plans to retire as he celebrates his 90th birthday. Robert Mugabe is the ... Read more »