Robert Mugabe mocks a nation facing famine with a birthday feast broadcast on TV
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:03 PM on 26th February 2010
Eight thousand lobsters and 4,000 portions of caviar were eaten last night at a birthday party for Mugabe which was broadcast live to a nation facing famine.
The £330,000 televised feast to celebrate the Zimbabwe president's 86th birthday came as crop failure and drought raised the prospect of widespread hunger in the poverty-stricken country.The list includes 200 bottles of champagne (Moet & Chandon or 61 Bollinger preferred); 8000 lobsters; 100kg of prawns; 4000 portions of caviar; 8000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates; 3000 ducks and much else besides.
A postscript adds "No mealie meal" - the ground corn staple on which the vast majority of Zimbabweans survived until the country's collapse rendered even that a luxury.
Mugabe's political opponents, the Movement for Democratic Change, said the food served was enough to feed 50 villages.
The MDC branded the 12-hour all-night gala a 'senseless extravagance'.
Also on the menu were 200lb of prawns and 500 bottles of whisky.
Guests at the party in Bulawayo were entertained by a Jamaican reggae star flown in specially and more than 30 musicians.
The revelry began at 6pm and was not due to wind up until 6am. The Zimbabwean leader celebrated his birthday last Sunday and has already attended a number of parties, including one at the Chinese embassy in the capital Harare.
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for 30 years and overseen the country's economic collapse.
He had expected taxpayers to pay for the party but had to go cap in hand to corporate supporters and friendly embassies when the MDC finance minister refused.
An MDC spokesman said the celebrations were inappropriate as the country braced itself for a tough harvest with an 11 per cent maize crop failure caused by a prolonged dry spell.
He said: 'It is not progressive for any Zimbabwean to join this senseless fray as the country faces imminent drought.
'It is lavish, careless and extravagant on the part of the organisers that they dedicate £330,000 to one person, an amount which could feed 50 villages.
'It is absolutely self-centred for someone to try to nationalise a birthday. MDC members will not be part of this circus.'
Last week the EU voted to continue sanctions on Zimbabwe for another year, citing a 'lack of progress' in implementing a power-sharing deal.
The sanctions are mainly targeted at senior ZanuPF figures and involve asset freezes as well as arms and travel embargos.
» » » » [Daily Mail]
African leaders show there are many countries for old men
David Smith, Mail & Guardian
Feb 28 2010 06:36
Let them eat cake. That is one of the likely headlines after an all-night birthday gala for Robert Mugabe, the autocratic president of Zimbabwe, which was due to finish in the early hours of Saturday. Mugabe, who last week turned 86 in a country where average life expectancy stands at 45, is the eldest statesman on a continent where age is seldom a barrier to power.
But events confronting both Nigerians and Nigeriens in the past week have demonstrated that the next generation of African leaders might find it somewhat harder to crush all comers.
President Mamadou Tandja of Niger, who had rewritten the Constitution rather than quit when his term expired, paid the penalty when soldiers stormed the presidential palace and spirited him away in a military coup. Diplomats were ambivalent about whether to condemn the means or praise the ends.
President Umaru Yar'Adua of Nigeria, who created a power vacuum when he disappeared in November for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, returned at dead of night to a country where politicians, lawyers, media and ordinary citizens have made their demands for accountability and transparency clear. Yar'Adua's deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, remains at the helm while questions linger over the president's health.
In recent times, the objections raised to the likes of Menzies Campbell and John McCain in recent British and American election campaigns rarely keep politicians awake here.
Africa's club of leaders of pensionable age includes Egypt's Hosni Mubarak (81) Cameroon's Paul Biya (77) Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia (73) Moammar Gadaffi of Libya, believed to be 67, Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, also 67, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville, thought to be 66, and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, believed to be 65.
Together these men have ruled for close to 250 years combined and none seems in a hurry to bend to free and fair democratic will. It took the grim reaper to part Gabon's Omar Bongo, at 41 years the longest-serving president in African history, from the levers of power last year at the age of 73.
No sign of going quietly
It is hoped that the rise of civil society organisations across Africa, flourishing on the internet, will prove a powerful counterweight to future big men turned old men. But optimism should be checked. The Mo Ibrahim prize for African leadership, intended to honour good governance, was not awarded last year because no worthy candidate could be found.
Mugabe, for one, shows no signs of going quietly. In April, he will mark 30 years in power since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain, making him one of the world's longest-reigning leaders. Urban myths abound about how the 86-year-old retains the zeal of a man half his age.
» » » » [Mail & Guardian]
Malema says 'capitalist system' must be audited
Feb 28 2010 06:41
Mail & Guardian
The racist notion that the progress of black youth in the post-democratic dispensation was automatically a consequence of corruption must be confronted, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema said on Saturday.
Malema said certain "revelations" had come to light "in the process of engaging the entire discourse of media conducted lifestyle audits".
"First is the racist notion and supposition expressed by both black and white people that the success and progress of black youth in the post democratic dispensation is automatically a consequence of corruption. This notion should be openly confronted and exposed as it has potential to undermine our hard won freedom to participate actively in the economy," Malema wrote in an opinion article published by City Press.
Julius Malema: A special report
"Second is the notion that seeks to criminalise all entrepreneurs that provide services to government as inherently corrupt and unethical, and labelled tenderpreneurs who have no brain and skill to do anything productive. The question we should ask is who should provide services to the state if all black entrepreneurs who put up consulting and construction firms are going to be rubbished as inherently corrupt tenderpreneurs."
"This tendency is reflected within calls to infiltrate the ANC in order to misguide it to something it is not ... As a concrete way forward, we have already mentioned that we will never allow young entrepreneurs to be intimidated out of doing legitimate and corrupt-free business, including through proving services to the state."
Malema said while he was not opposed to lifestyle audits, "our conviction is that the capitalist system is the one that should be audited and checked as how is it useful in the empowerment of our people and improvement of their living conditions".
"We will never loose focus and fight over insignificant amount of resources, whilst we have a bigger struggle to fight."
Meanwhile, a national executive committee member told the Mail & Guardian last week that the national leadership had instructed the party's top six officials to investigate allegations that some people in the party, perceived to be loyal supporters of President Jacob Zuma, had been unfairly targeted to have their lifestyles audited.
Malema claimed in a series of media interviews last week that he had a document allegedly drafted by former officials of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) at the request of some senior ANC figures.
He said the document sought to discredit some party leaders by questioning their income, the affordability of their lifestyle and their ownership of assets.
He was defending himself against allegations that he used his political muscle to secure government tenders for companies that he had interests in.
NEC member Billy Masetlha confirmed that the party was investigating a secret intelligence document, with the names of people to be targeted for political gains, but he could not confirm that it was the same document that Malema referred to this week. - Sapa
» » » » [Mail & Guardian]