PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe marked his 87th birthday by eating cake with his family on Monday.
State television showed him blowing out candles and sharing a cake with his family and staff.
He returned home on Sunday from a week-long trip to Singapore where he underwent medical checks after a cataract operation on a previous visit in January, his office said.
Mugabe arrived quietly on Sunday and broke with his tradition by not addressing his supporters who had gathered at the Harare International Airport to greet him.
Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has denied reports he underwent cancer-related surgery during an extended vacation in Asia in January.
Mugabe will celebrate his birthday on Saturday with children and young leaders, an annual tradition, state radio said, that encourages young people to follow his example as a statesman.
Zanu PF supporters, state radio and television showered Mugabe with praises.
In its evening news bulletin, the ZBC reported that “43 babies had been born by lunchtime on Monday to coincide” with Mugabe’s birthday.
“To share a birthday with President Mugabe is a joy to cherish for most mothers who were ecstatic,” the ZBC reported.
It added: “Others were delighted and expressed hope that their children will emulate the wholesome character of President Mugabe, whom many describe as a great pan-Africanists and a champion of economic empowerment.”
Zanu PF senator Monica Mutsvangwa said Mugabe “remained focused on total liberation of his people from colonial oppression”.
Justin Mahlahla, a Zanu PF supporter, hailed him as a “pan-Africanist par excellence”.
“He has stood the test of time,” Mahlahla told the ZBC. “He has successfully fought a war no-one ever dreamt he would win against — a repressive system that sought to keep blacks as eternal servants of the white man.”