Mugabe blows £600,000 on birthday party

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The Independent Online

Who said Robert Mugabe doesn't have friends? The President of Zimbabwe might have few allies on the global stage but thousands of supporters turned out for the finale of the week-long party celebrating the leader's 88th birthday.

Organised at a reported cost of more than £600,000, the weekend bash in Mutare, about 300km east of the capital, Harare, featured an array of birthday cakes for the aging leader – including one in the shape of an alligator.

Although he is now one of Africa's eldest leaders, age hasn't dented Mr Mugabe's enthusiasm for office. The President, who turned 88 on 21 February, is set to contest in upcoming elections after more than three decades in power, starting with his stint as Prime Minister in the early 1980s.