Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has come under fire for hosting a lavish $1 million celebration for his 92nd birthday in a number of locations, including a drought-stricken region of the struggling nation, reports The Washington Post.
His birthday was Feb. 21, and celebrations were held in Harare, the capital, and at another event further south, which has been hit by drought, the report says:
Ninety-two balloons were released into the sky, while supporters read out poems and sang songs in Mugabe’s honor. He ate another cake that came in the shape of a vaguely accurate political map of the African continent.
Meanwhile, as myriad reports noted, there’s a “state of disaster” declared in the country’s rural areas, with some 3 million Zimbabweans in dire need of food aid. A severe drought has compromised some three-quarter of the country’s maize crop. Last month, the government requested some $1.5 billion in aid from the U.N. World Food Program.
But Mugabe, who has ruled the country since 1980 despite reports of his ill-health, maintained his dogged anti-Western line. In a speech, he rebuffed possible assistance from the international community if it meant having to also put up with supposedly foreign values.