Mugabe’s birthday party – level 3
It was a lavish affair in Zimbabwe, featuring a 92-kilogram cake and a party that cost nearly 1 million dollars, as Robert Mugabe celebrated his 92nd birthday. The leader had his cake and ate it, as tens of thousands gathered to mark the occasion in the drought–stricken city of Masvingo.
The event drew criticism from opponents who said the celebrations were an affront to ordinary people in the country struggling with widespread food shortages. Mugabe had assured no one would starve as a result of a drought, which has left three million people in need and has prompted the declaration of a state of disaster and a plea for over a billion dollars in aid.
And while many were in a festive mood for the occasion, Mugabe, accompanied by his wife Grace, used his birthday speech to attack western donors and gay rights.
Mugabe is Zimbabwe’s only leader since its independence from Britain in 1980. Critics blame him for many of the country’s problems, citing his policies, including the seizures and redistribution of white-owned commercial farms. The elderly leader, however, blames his countries economic troubles on Western meddling.
Despite his age, he shows no intention of stepping down, much to the frustration of feuding members of his ruling ZANU–PF party.
Difficult words: lavish (luxurious), affair (an event), gather (to come together), mark (to celebrate), occasion (an event), drought (when the weather is very dry and it does not rain for a long time), stricken (troubled), affront (an insult), struggle (to have problems with), shortage (when there’s not enough of something), assure (to say), prompt (to help make something happen), plea (a request), blame (to hold somebody responsible for something), seizure (taking of something by force), meddling (intervening – doing something), feuding (fighting).
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