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Report: Zimbabwe

Row over elephant on menu at Mugabe’s 91st birthday party

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe at the African Union summit last month
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe at the African Union summit last month Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

A 91st birthday party for Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is just two weeks away now and it looks as if partygoers will be eating elephant. The president's supporters are arranging a huge celebration at the world-famous Victoria Falls beauty spot and at least 20,000 people are expected.

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As Mugabe has just been elected head of the African Union, his supporters want to make this party extra special. 

But critics say the funds used to host this event would be better spent on improving healthcare and education in the struggling southern African country.

Donors have been asked to give generously to this party. So one of them, a farmer from Victoria Falls, has donated two elephants.

And that's not everything: Tendai Musasa has also promised two buffalo, as well as some sable and impala, according to Zimbabwe's official Chronicle.

The paper says the animals will be slaughtered to feed guests at the 28 February party, which will take place on the golf course of one of the plushest hotels in Victoria Falls, the Elephant Hills Resort.

Supporters are keen to make this party memorable: already T-shirts showing the president's long life in photos have been designed.

One local music group, Offspring of Land, has written a birthday song - with a video to go with it.

Up to 20,000 people are expected to attend the party and some will be given free hotel rooms.

But animal rights activists are unlikely to be happy about the slaughter of this game and villagers living near to the farmer are already up in arms.

They say the animals weren't his to give away.

They told the Chronicle newspaper that these elephants and buffalo were supposed to be sold off to hunters and now the villagers are being denied some desperately needed income.

 

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