Tsvangirai, Sadc leaders for Mugabe's birthday

HARARE - One of President Robert Mugabe’s birthday wishes is to have rival-turned-coalition- partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai attend his annual bash.

With relations seemingly thawing between the two former bitter rivals, who have tea every Monday, whenever time allows, there seems to be growing favour within Zanu PF to have Tsvangirai attend this year’s 21st movement celebrations slated for March 2 in Bindura.

Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday, Zanu PF secretary for youth Absalom Sikhosana, who heads the 21st Movement, an organisation named after Mugabe’s birthday, said it was the party’s wish to have Tsvangirai at the Bindura bash.

“Everything is going according to plan. The stage is now set and young people from around the country are very excited. We have sent invitation cards to regional leaders and some afar who share the same views with us.

“The birthday is for everybody, including the MDC and its leader Tsvangirai. We have always invited them but sadly they have never attended,” said Sikhosana.  

Like before, Tsvangirai seems just happy to share tea with Mugabe on Mondays and nothing more.

He is snubbing the bash where Mugabe’s colourful supporters often don party regalia and sing songs which take a dig at Tsvangirai and his policies.

Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson said his boss sees no need to attend the celebrations.

“The premier always meets with the president every Monday and he can always say happy birthday to him. I do not see the reason why he should attend the actual party,” said Tamborinyoka.

But then the two are getting closer everyday with the beef that existed before now becoming history, at least in public.

When Tsvangirai’s first wife Susan passed away in 2009 in a horror car crash, Mugabe along with a weeping Grace paid their condolences in typical African style.

That was four years ago. Now ties between Mugabe (88) and Tsvangirai (62), who could easily pass for father and son, have grown from strength to strength.

Doubters have been proven wrong as a unity government, which has had its fair share of problems, has leapt on addressing some of the social and economic challenges that had made Zimbabwe a butt of international jokes.

Mugabe was born on February 21, in 1924 and his birthday celebrations are an annual carnival that is characterised by pomp and funfair, regardless of Zimbabwe’s economic situation.

Even in years when shops ran out of bread and most basics at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic turmoil, Mugabe’s expensive birthday parties continued.

This year is no exception with close to a million dollars being the target for the celebrations even as over a million people are in dire need of food assistance.

No doubt fine brands of wine, whisky will overflow at the birthday celebrations where Mugabe’s name and deeds are exalted by his followers and friends.   

It is not as if Mugabe forks out a single cent.

Businesses, keen to curry favour with Zanu PF which is on a warpath enforcing a controversial indigenisation drive, have been stepping on each other’s toes to sponsor Mugabe’s birthday celebrations.

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