Mugabe’s Body Ageing,His Mind Remains Young

Mugabe turned 87on Monday last week but he traditionally marks his birthday later with a mass meeting of the youth movement he founded. He returned home on Sunday after undergoing medical treatment in Singapore.

“87 is only 8 plus 7. I want to remain with you. My body may get spent but I wish my mind will always be with you,” he told more than 6 000 supporters some dressed in his party regalia.

Mugabe said his ideas were not those of an “aged person” but those of a young man that “will rejuvenate the country and impel us to be innovative and imaginative”.

Mugabe, wearing the red neck scarf of his youth movement, told the gathering of party leaders, youth groups and children that he never capitulated to pressures from Western leaders over their allegations of human rights abuses by him and his Zanu-PF party.

“No, that will never happen. That is where I derive strength,” he said. To him, he said, US President Barack Obama “is just a nobody in America”.

Mugabe was garlanded with flowers, and he listened to two hours of praise-singing by choirs and music groups. Other supporters chanted slogans recalling the guerrilla war that swept Mugabe to power in 1980, ending British colonial rule.

Tables in the convention hall were laden with giant cakes he cut during the ceremony, one resembling a giant Zimbabwean flag and another depicting the Great Zimbabwe ruins of a stone city built by a tribal dynasty in southern Zimbabwe in the 14th century from which Zimbabwe derives its name.