Private birthday party for Mugabe as he turns 94

Private birthday party for Mugabe as he turns 94

- Robert Mugabe turned 94 last week, and celebrated privately at home

- The former Zimbabwean ruler has always celebrated with lavish public events

- This is his first birthday since being ousted from power last year

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Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe celebrated his 94th birthday on Saturday with a private black-tie party hosted by his family, three months after he was ousted from power.

Previously a major public event in Zimbabwe, Mugabe's birthday was usually celebrated with fawning congratulations and tributes in official media from regime loyalists, government ministries and agencies.

This year, his actual birthday, on Wednesday, was declared an annual public holiday, but was not publicly celebrated.

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Although an invitation card that appeared on social media said guests would be "celebrating our hero," Louisa Nyanhongo, a member of Mugabe's close circle told reporters that it was only for invited guests, Briefly.co.za gathered.

"The party is only for close family members and friends. It is not for the public and it is strictly by invite," Nyanhongo said.

The card said the party was at "Blue Roof" - the lavish private residence where Mugabe and his wife Grace, 52, have been living in apparent seclusion since he was forced to resign after a military intervention.

Nyanhongo's telephone number appeared on the invitation, but she declined to comment further.

Previous celebrations, during Mugabe's 37-year reign as president, were lavish, with Mugabe making long speeches, dressed in a suit that bore his own face.

The parties included multi-course feasts, and vast birthday cakes, with the biggest cake said to weigh the same number of kilograms as Mugabe's age.

This week, Mugabe was photographed with his wife, Grace, meeting the new African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, in Harare.

The photographs were the first of the couple since his ousting.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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