President Robert Mugabe, recently sworn in for a seventh term, celebrates his 90th birthday on 21 Feb 2014.
He has ruled since the nation gained independence from Britain in 1980 and there is no evidence that age has loosened his hand on power. The birthday revitalizes the succession issue.
From all accounts Mugabe pits factions of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and his potential successors, Joice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa, against each other to curb their power to usurp him. He is also accused of using intimidation to hamstring the opposition Movement For Democratic Change, led by Morgan Tsivangirai.
The birthday present he wants more than the usual cake and lavish celebration is relief from Western economic sanctions. The European Union decided on 24 Sep 2013 to allow Zimbabwe to resume exporting diamonds. The early gift is expected to boost Zimbabwe's tax revenue.
Date written/update: 2013-11-20