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In pictures: Mugabe celebrates his 90th birthday

President Robert Mugabe celebrated his 90th birthday today having spent more than a third of his life as leader of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses his supporters. Credit: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
The crowd cheers for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at his birthday celebrations> Credit: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace wave to the crowd. Credit: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

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Zimbabwe's Mugabe celebrates his 90th birthday

Robert Mugabe celebrated his 90th birthday at a party-come-political rally in a football stadium, held a few days late due to a trip to Singapore for what aides said was a cataract operation.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. Credit: Reuters

Mugabe appeared to show no signs of ill health after returning from Singapore and his aides have denied speculation he has been treated for prostate cancer.

Zimbabwe's sole ruler since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in 1980, Mugabe is under Western sanctions. He denies human rights abuses and election fraud and blames Britain for smearing his name.

Mugabe: 'Leadership still exists, I am still there'

Robert Mugabe turned 90 today, celebrating his birthday not in his native Zimbabwe, but in Singapore.

His spokesperson denied reports he was suffering from prostate cancer, saying it was a routine cataract operation.

In an interview on state television, Mugabe claimed to be as "fit as a fiddle" but his slightly slurred and slow speech, and languid appearance fuelled further speculation about his health.

The state broadcaster did manage to venture a question on who might succeed him within his party, but he denied there was any need to even discuss such a possiblity.

Blair denies calling for military action to topple Mugabe

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has denied claims his government asked South Africa for their support in invading Zimbabwe and toppling Robert Mugabe.

Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president, said his country and Britain had differing opinions on how to deal with Zimbabwe in 2000, when they were hit by an economic collapse and political repression. Mr Blair wanted Mugabe to go while Mr Mbeki favoured political negotiation.

Tony Blair and former South African president Thabo Mbeki in 2007. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/PA Archive

Mr Mbeki, who served as president from 1999 until 2008, told Al Jazeera: "The problem was, we were speaking from different positions.

“There were other people saying ‘yes indeed there are political problems, economic problems, the best way to solve them is regime change. So Mugabe must go.’

"This was the difference. So they said ‘Mugabe must go’. But we said ‘Mugabe is part of the solution to this problem’.”

A spokesman for the former Prime Minister said: "Tony Blair has long believed that Zimbabwe would be much better off without Robert Mugabe and always argued for a tougher stance against him, but he never asked anyone to plan or take part in any such military intervention."

Cyanide poisoned elephants death toll 'reaches 91'

Poisoned elephant carcass at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe Credit: ITV News

The number of poisoned dead Elephants at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe has risen to 91, wildlife officials have told the Associated Press.

The elephants were poisoned with cyanide by poachers who hacked off their tusks for the lucrative illegal ivory market. ITV News correspondent Martin Geissler reported on the devastating attack last week.

Police and rangers have recovered ivory tusks, cyanide and wire snares after a sweep through villages close to the park. Credit: ITV News

Officials say cyanide used in gold mining was spread by poachers over the flat "salt pans". They also say lions, hyenas and vultures have died from feeding on contaminated carcasses or drinking nearby.

Nine suspected poachers have been arrested this month after the biggest, most brutal poaching spree on record. Three men were sentenced to up to 16 years in jail.

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