At 90, Zimbabwe's Mugabe says has energy of 9-year-old

MARONDERA, Zimbabwe Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:38am EST

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera about 80km ( 50 miles) east of the capital Harare, February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera about 80km ( 50 miles) east of the capital Harare, February 23, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

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MARONDERA, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Robert Mugabe celebrated his 90th birthday on Sunday, having spent more than a third of his life as leader of Zimbabwe, lauded as a liberation hero by some and condemned as a human rights abuser by others.

At a birthday party-cum-political rally in a football stadium, Mugabe, showed no signs of ill health after returning from Singapore for what aides said was a cataract operation.

"I am made to feel youthful and as energetic as a boy of nine," a smiling Mugabe told thousands of supporters at the party, held a few days after his birthday due to the Singapore trip.

Zimbabwe's sole ruler since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in 1980, Mugabe is under Western sanctions. He denies human rights abuses and election fraud and blames former colonial power Britain for smearing his name.

"The British, we don't hate you, we only love our country better," he told the crowd, saying he had received many birthday greetings from compatriots and from foreign leaders including those of China and Russia.

Mugabe's age and concerns about his health have fuelled a succession battle inside his ZANU-PF party. Vice-President Joice Mujuru leads the field but faces a challenge from Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, a powerful former defense and security minister known as "the Crocodile".

In an apparent response to questions over his health, Mugabe said his abstinence from alcohol and tobacco kept him fit, but he gave no indication of when he planned to retire. His aides have denied speculation he has been treated for prostate cancer.

"God, I can't thank you enough for that gift of life," Mugabe said during the event where he spoke for over an hour and walked around the stadium in the small farming town of Marondera, 100 kms (65 miles) east of Harare.

He told the crowd he intended to crack down on officials, including cabinet ministers, implicated in corruption and fraud in state companies.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Writing by Cris Chinaka; Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa and Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (4)
umkomazi wrote:
He also has the spite of a 9 year old brat who refuses to share his toys, who throws a hissy-fit when he doesn’t get what he wants & expects everyone to wipe his ass!

Feb 23, 2014 11:51am EST  --  Report as abuse
f00 wrote:
Here’s the best Africa’s got — educated by Jesuits, multiple degrees from Euro institutions, the cream of the cream of the cream of the crop — and still a tyrant in the age-old SS African “Big Man” style.

Most Africans are realizing that white rule was a Golden Age. On their own, all they can do is pull stuff out of the ground, with YT’s (and the yellow man’s) help.

Recolonization is their only hope. Plus lots of free vasectomies and tube-ties.

Feb 23, 2014 12:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Fromkin wrote:
A true revolutionary. Amazing how he looks younger than most people at 55.

Feb 23, 2014 12:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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