Mugabe celebrates 92nd birthday with lavish party as country suffers drought

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The festivities reportedly cost $800,000

His birthday celebrations were held in one of the worst drought-stricken parts of the country

Mugabe has been in power for 36 years

CNN  — 

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe celebrated his 92nd birthday with a lavish celebration Saturday, in a region of his country that is experiencing widespread drought and food shortages affecting 2.5 million of his people.

This year’s festivities included concerts, parades and parties in his honor, and reportedly cost $800,000.

Just a few weeks prior, Mugabe declared a “state of disaster” in several rural areas affected by a drought.

“Initial indications were that 1.5 million people were food-insecure with all the 60 rural districts being affected,” Public Works Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, said in a statement in early February. “Overall, the food-insecure population has since risen to 2.44 million – 26% of the population.”

Over 72% of the country live in poverty, with over a fifth of the population in extreme poverty, according to the World Bank.

Further incensing critics, the celebrations took place in one of the worst stricken areas of the country, Masvingo.

In a speech at his birthday celebrations, Mugabe acknowledged the food shortages.