The adage a picture is worth a thousand words could not be more suitable to describe an image of an unidentified woman picking up cake crumbs that fell off the VVIP table after President Robert Mugabe’s lavish 92nd birthday party in Masvingo last Saturday.

Observers say the picture highlights the stark inequalities and profligacy in a country where the poor face hunger and starvation.

The  lavish birthday party held last weekend, which reportedly cost close to U.S.$1 has raised eyebrows and has been widely criticised. Observers questioned such opulent and conspicuous spending amidst the prevailing drought and hunger and many feel the money could have been used to assist vulnerable families.

Obert Gutu, a spokesperson for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said “The money that is being budgeted for this ill-conceived birthday bash should actually be used to import maize to avert the impending starvation in Masvingo province and other parts of the country”.

The southern Africa region faces a humanitarian disaster and 14 million people face hunger and starvation due to the prevailing drought.

In a statement released last month by the World Food Programme, the “Worst affected in the region by last year’s poor rains are Malawi (2.8 million people facing hunger), Madagascar (nearly 1.9 million people) and Zimbabwe (1.5 million) where last year’s harvest was reduced by half compared with the previous year because of massive crop failure”.

Source: NewsDay