Zimbabwe celebrates Mugabe's 87th birthday

09:28, February 22, 2011      

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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe turns 87 Monday brimming with confidence that he will sail through elections he hopes will be held this year to put an end to the inclusive government that has left him frustrated over policy differences among the governing parties.

Mugabe, who has been in power since Zimbabwe attained independence from the British in 1980, takes his birthday to inculcate the spirit of self-determination among the youths under the banner of the 21st February Movement.

The movement was started in 1984, largely targeting the "born frees" or those who were born after 1980.

Although the movement has largely been driven by Mugabe's party Zanu-PF, it has a national appeal and enjoys the support of many corporate bodies.

Radio and television are also awash with songs of praise which also wish Mugabe many more years to come, not only as a human being, but as leader of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, who has over the years ridden over rumors of failing health, arrived home on Sunday from Singapore where he had gone for a review after an earlier cataract operation.

This year's 21st February Movement celebrations are slated for Harare, where Mugabe will mingle with invited guests and take an opportunity to give direction to youths in his party, especially ahead of the elections he wants to be held this year.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara are not keen on having elections this year, but Mugabe is adamant that they should be held and is confident of regaining full control of government.

The inclusive government was formed in 2009 following inconclusive elections in 2008, but Mugabe's party has gone on an aggressive membership drive which also targets the youth, women, rural farmers and religious organizations such as apostolic faith sects.

Source: Xinhua

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