What a shame

HARARE - We were astounded last Friday to learn that the Civil Service Commission had arranged a belated birthday party for President Robert Mugabe, at a time when civil servants are wallowing in poverty and have failed to receive the promised salary increments.

It is a shame that we find the commission miraculously finding money from somewhere just to please the Dear Leader, when civil servants are suffering and getting salaries below the poverty datum line.

On his birthday celebrations in Marondera two weeks ago, Mugabe was showered with presents and praises and we are told that the party in the Mashonaland East province capital gobbled more than $1 million. Surely, that was enough.

We find all this both strange and embarrassing.

Besides the civil servants who are living from hand to mouth, why didn’t the Civil Service Commission use the money to help victims of the Tokwe-Mukorsi flooding disaster who are battling homelessness, diseases and all ills associated with such sudden displacements.

Surely, we can’t have people, and government arms for that matter, splashing money on Mugabe while we have people failing to get a single meal. Are our arms of government responsible enough?

Mugabe himself must now be feeling embarrassed by the gifts being showered on him under the guise of birthdays.

He must divert some of these glamorous gifts to the needy like victims of the Tokwe-Mukorsi floods. And we are still wondering why Mugabe prefers to attend praise singing birthday bashes yet he has not visited Tokwe-Mukorsi victims. The Tokwe-Mukorsi disaster has left thousands affected and in their situation, they desperately need the assistance and sympathy of their leadership but there is none because they are busy with other issues like birthdays in Harare.

Against this background, we would like to applaud private companies and individuals who have been using their money to help thousands of villagers affected by the floods. At least it gives them hope that when their own government abandons them, there are some people who care.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have also been playing a crucial role in helping victims of the floods and they also need to be applauded.

At least they are showing blinkered people like those from the Public Service Commission that in life, there are more important issues than expensive birthday bashes for Mugabe.

If there is any organisation planning any more birthday parties for Mugabe, please put the money to better use like helping the many suffering people of Zimbabwe.

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