At his 91st birthday party, Zimbawean president Robert Mugabe criticizes American safari hunting and ate several wild animals, including the endangered African elephant.
Mugabe is known for his controversial opinions and exotic tastes, and his latest birthday celebration didn’t disappoint. Held at a luxurious golf resort in Vicoria Falls, Mugabe’s celebration included 20,000 guests and was estimated to have cost $1 million dollars.
Guests were served a young elephant, along with the meat of buffalo, impalas, and sables, which were donated to the president from a local landowner. Mugabe was also gifted with a stuffed lion and crocodile. A second elephant was planned to be later shot and given to the Victoria Falls community.
The meal and the excess of the celebration were criticized by both wildlife conservationists and Mugabe’s political opposition, who called it “obscene” and “totally unethical.”
Mugabe also delivered a 90-minute speech during his celebration, where he criticized American sanctions against Zimabwe.
“If they [the USA] want to be friends then they must be friends with us in total and we allow them to have some safaris,” he said. “But they can’t say ‘allow our people to visit, allow our people to have safaris, to kill our lions and take safari trophies to America.'”
Critics say the lavish party and the president’s comments are a continuing sign that Mugabe is out of touch with his country, which still struggles with rampant poverty and crumbling infrastructure.
Mugabe, a former revolutionary and the world’s oldest leader, is no stranger to controversy and has been accused of several abuses of human rights and violations of democracy during his long tenure. His violent suppression of political opponents and seizure of land from white farmers, among other policies, have caused him to be ostracized by most world powers. Nevertheless, Mugabe maintains a tenuous popularity in Zimbabwe, where many voters still see him a symbol of the country’s independence.