Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s immediate past president, turned 94 years on Wednesday, February 21, 2018.
It is the first celebration since he was ousted from power last year.
Incidentally, the two photos making the rounds of social media were shared by two former ministers who fled Zimbabwe after the military takeover that led to Mugabe’s downfall.
His wife Grace Mugabe was seated with the birthday celebrant in a light hearted pose. Unlike in previous years, there were no signs of cakes and giant birthday cards.
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According to a former minister, Jonathan Moyo, who is in exile, the photo was taken at the Blue Roof Mugabe family house.
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.
None of the ministries and agencies that previously clamoured to mark the day even acknowledged it this year, and the flurry of tributes that filled newspaper pull-outs each year was also absent.
While government offices and schools were closed for the first annual “Robert Mugabe National Youth Day” — declared a week after his forced resignation on November 21 — much civilian life continued as normal.
“It’s a day we treasure and we revere the former president,” Simon Khaya Moyo, spokesman of the ruling Zanu-PF party, told local media.
“The party will send its best wishes and a cake,” added Moyo, whose party switched allegiances from Mugabe to President Emmerson Mnangagwa during last year’s take-over.
Mugabe, whose authoritarian rule drove Zimbabwe into economic ruin, has not made any public appearances following his abrupt ousting.
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