By bus, truck and on foot, thousands of Zimbabweans wearing the colors of the ruling party made their way to the normally sleepy southeastern city of Masvingo to celebrate President Robert Mugabe's 92nd birthday.

Organizers said on Saturday that guests will feast on beef and game meat but the opposition has criticized the celebrations as insensitive to the many Zimbabweans facing hunger due to drought and a struggling economy.

Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, let 92 balloons into the air to mark the start of the celebrations held at the historical Great Zimbabwe monument. During the televised event, school children recited poetry praising Mugabe and criticizing western nations.

The event, dubbed the 21st February Movement after Mugabe's actual birthday, has been held since 1986.