Mugabe celebrates 88th birthday

Reuters

by Reuters

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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe celebrates his 88th birthday with a crowd of supporters.

The controversial leader's party is slated to win elections that may happen this year, prompting Mugabe to call for a different kind of politics.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT, ROBERT MUGABE

"Time has come for us to do our politics in a much more, you know, cultured way. In a way which recognises that although our differences are ideological and political and sometimes quite negative."

But most importantly, he says he wants to see a violence-free election.

SOUNDBITE (English) ROBERT MUGABE

"No violence, no violence, no violence."

Mugabe is reviled in the West for refusing to give up office, despite running Zimbabwe's economy into the ground and massive human rights abuses.

Critics say Mugabe ruined one of Africa's most promising economies when he came into power in 1980.

Some are also angry he is calling for early elections before the country has formed its new constitution or implemented a planned set of reforms.

Jessica Gray, Reuters

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