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Duo charged with theft of Mugabe birthday cattle

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Two provincial officials from Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's party have appeared in court charged with stealing 10 cattle meant for the veteran leader's birthday celebrations, their lawyer said Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege the pair were entrusted with 10 cattle donated by a local farmer for Mugabe's birthday bash in Mutare city.

"They unlawfully and with the intention to steal, converted the cattle to their own use thereby committing the crime of stock theft," read part of the prosecution case.

Mike Madiro and Dorothy Mabika deny the charges, lawyer Tinofara Hove told AFP.

Mugabe, who turned 89 in February, celebrates his birthday every year with a public rally organised by the ZANU-PF youth league.

He is often lavished with gifts including livestock by well-wishers and allies.

This year, central bank governor Gideon Gono, a close ally of Mugabe, gave the long-time ruler 89 head of cattle.

After an initial hearing Monday, the pair are expected to return to court on May 22.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130409/duo-charged-theft-mugabe-birthday-cattle