Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe reportedly rejected a mini-birthday party that had been organised for him by the Zanu-PF youth league this week.
According to NewsDay, Mugabe, who turned 94 on February 21, opted instead to celebrate privately with his close family members.
The Zanu-PF youth league had indicated earlier this week that Mugabe’s 94th birthday would be a low-key event.
The nonagenarian had held several lavish birthday parties over the past decade across the southern African country.
The hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the festivities provoked outrage each year, given Zimbabwe’s fragile economic situation.
The leader of Zanu-PF’s youth league, Pupurai Togarepi, last month said that the party would continue to honour the deposed leader.
“Since February 21 has been declared a national holiday, we are taking advantage of that day to honour Mugabe. As youths, we will embark on charitable work as well as spend some time with the former president.
We want to have a cake and share with him. This, for us, will be a small event unlike previous ones,” Togarepi was quoted as saying.
But NewsDay cited sources as saying that Mugabe had refused to be part of the small event.
“He wants to be with his family and those who love him genuinely and not those who want to abuse his name for political gains,” a close family member was quoted as saying.
“The family would want to hold the birthday party for our old man, as a private event. But critically, what business does the party have for a man they removed in the manner they did?”
As president, Mugabe typically celebrated with a rambling speech while wearing a suit decorated with images of his own face at a party that included a lavish feast.
But following his ousting in November after a brief military takeover, this year’s festivities were restrained.