Zimbabwe's Leader Parties In Style As Countrymen Starve - NBC New York

Zimbabwe's Leader Parties In Style As Countrymen Starve

President Robert Mugabe to pop 2,000 bottles of champagne as millions of citizens suffer



    Meeting Veterans’ Special Needs in Hospice
    AFP/Getty Images
    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will celebrate his 85th birthday with champagne, caviar and lobsters as Zimbabwe remains in turmoil

    ZimbabwePresident Robert Mugabe this month will celebrate his 85th birthday in style - with more than 2,000 bottles of champagne and 8,000 gourmet lobsters - as a cholera epidemic ravages his country and millions of Zimbabweans starve to death, the Times of Londonreports.

    Mugabe's advisors are currently drawing up a wish list for the leader's massive party, soliciting Zimbabwe's corporate elite to donate food items or thousands of dollars in cash for the festivities. More than 4,000 portions of caviar, 3,000 ducks and 8,000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher candy are also on the menu for the evening, according to the Times.

    Ninety-four percent of Zimbabwe citizens are jobless and seven million survive on international food aid.

    Mugabe's birthday party is an annual spending frenzy - last year's cost a reported $1.2 million. Two years ago, 20,000 guests flooded a Zimbabwe stadium for the party, which aired on national television.

    "It's just appalling," one Western diplomat told the Times of this year's outrageous party plans.

    "It's like they are either completely oblivious to what's happening in their country, or completely impervious and just don't care," the diplomat said.

    Members of Mugabe's cabinet said that thousands of cows, sheep and other livestock would be slaughtered for the celebration, which will be held on Feb. 28 in Chinhoyi, Mugabe's home province.