Monday, 2 March 2015


Zimbabwe's president marked his 91st birthday celebrations attended by thousands of loyal supporters attended the $1million party at the lavish resort town of Victoria falls near the world-famous waterfall.
In the televised address, Robert Mugabe vowed to 'invade' the farms and animal sanctuaries still owned by whites - who he claims still own vast amounts of the country's land.
He added: 'Zimbabwe has lots of safaris but very few are African. Most are white-owned. In our region, we have the most safaris and animals. Our people cannot keep suffering.'
When the country gained independence in 1980, white farmers who made up less than one per cent of the population owned around 70 per cent of the best farming land.
But in April 2000, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party pushed through controversial land reform which allowed the government to confiscate white-owned land and distribute it to black farmers without having to pay them compensation.
Now the Commercial Farmers Union which represents white farmers in the country says fewer than 300, out of the previous 4,500, remain one land following the purge.
During the hour-long speech on February 21, Mugage said he would allow whites to keep their animal sanctuaries if the United States removes sanctions imposed on him, his wife and members of his inner circle.
Flanked by his two deputies, senior government officials, his children and wife Grace, he added: 'We can do things for ourselves. We don't need the white man to continue to guide us.'
His impassioned performance at the age of 91 dispelled any speculation the ageing dictator is slowing down, following the widely-mocked fall he suffered at Harare airport.
The Zimbabwean leader has self-proclaimed himself as a 'champion of post-colonial Africa' but has faced constant and robust condemnation from Western nations and human rights groups who claim he crushes dissent with violence, torture and death.
He was among a handful of African leaders - including South Africa's former president Nelson Mandela - who fought white domination in their countries.
But while Mandela served a single term in office before retiring, Mugabe has tightened his grip on Zimbabwe's leadership since assuming office in 1980.
The youth officials who organised his birthday party have encouraged him to hold the position until he dies.
This year, he became chairman of the 54-nation African Union. He also heads a regional group of 15 southern African nations.
In an interview on state television on Friday, Mugabe said he would not pick a successor to his ruling ZANU-PF party.
He said: 'I don't choose my successor, never. I was not appointed successor by anyone,' Mugabe said.
'The successor can come from any level of the party. It may be either of the vice presidents, but it's up to the people.'
Last December ZANU-PF re-elected Mugabe, making him candidate in the next election in 2018 when he will be 94.
Mugabe denies media reports he is suffering from prostate cancer and maintains his several trips to Singapore are for routine medical checks and to fix a recurring eye problem.
Source: Mailonline
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