Mugabe birthday party to blow $1mln

HARARE - In a shocking development, it has emerged that the country’s poorly-paid civil servants are being forced to contribute towards President Robert Mugabe’s extravagant birthday bash to be held in Victoria Falls at the end of the month.

The secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Raymond Majongwe, told the Daily News yesterday that Zanu PF bigwigs were abusing teachers by coercing them to help fund Mugabe’s mega birthday party, which includes chartering a plane to ferry select attendees to the famous resort town.

“In many provinces, people are being forced to donate towards the birthday and we now know where they intend to get the money to charter a plane and bankroll the expensive party.

“The money teachers are being forced to pay ranges from $1 to $10, depending on the school and the seniority of the teachers concerned.

“If it was Independence Day celebrations we would understand but not for the birthday of an individual,” Majongwe complained.

This is not the first time that struggling civil servants have complained about being coerced to make financial contributions to outright Zanu PF functions or national events such as Independence Day celebrations, and Majongwe feels that it is time the practice comes to a stop.

In many of the cases, it is civil servants who work in outlying areas — such as teachers stationed in rural areas — who bear the heaviest brunt of this thuggish fund-raising modus operandi by ruling party apparatchiks, who often threaten to unleash terror and unprecedented harassment on those who resist the coercion.

However, Tongai Kasukuwere, the secretary for finance for the Youth League, vehemently denied yesterday that anyone was being forced to pay for Mugabe’s expensive birthday bash.

“Preparations are at an advanced stage and we have got a lot of well-wishers who are willingly donating in cash and kind.

“If there are people being forced to donate to the gala they should report to the police.

“We are the youth league and we are accountable. We will not force anyone to contribute towards the celebrations. We have our traditional partners,” Kasukuwere said.

Mugabe, the country’s sole leader since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980 turns 91 on Saturday. His birthdays are usually opulent affairs, with this year’s party scheduled to be held over the weekend of February 28 in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

Some Zanu PF youths have said that they were targeting to raise a whopping $1 million to bankroll the bash, with a super A-list of the country’s top entertainers billed to perform at the gala.

But Kasukuwere dismissed the $1 million target.

“We are not targeting anything. We have been assisted by the hotels in Victoria Falls. We do not want people to starve so we will make sure that food is available. It’s not about the amount that we will raise but making sure that people do not starve and get somewhere to sleep,” Kasukuwere said.

He said more than 100 children, aged between seven and 15 and drawn from all the country’s provinces, would be flown from Harare to Victoria Falls.

“We want to promote domestic tourism and we are especially targeting the 21sters, who are children aged between seven and 15,” Kasukuwere said.

All in all, at least 20 000 people are expected to attend the enormous celebrations over the birthday weekend.

While some party supporters like Tendai Musasa have willingly donated game meat and a lion trophy — worth a reported $100 000, 00 — other business people and companies have also quietly said that they were being coerced “as usual” to donate towards the annual event, which Zanu PF youths want turned into a national holiday.

And with Zanu PF holding the keys to lucrative government contracts, mining licences and virtually everything else happening in the country, many businesses hoping to curry favour with the ruling party have made it a habit to contribute towards the celebrations.

Last year saw 90 balloons being released into the air from Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera, where a huge cake was on display and 90 beasts were slaughtered for the festivities.

Obert Gutu, spokesperson of the opposition MDC, said it was obscene that such an expensive jamboree was being held at a time that Zimbabweans were wallowing in poverty.

“The MDC calls upon the proposed Robert Mugabe birthday bash scheduled to take place in Victoria Falls on February 28, 2015 to be called off.

“All the money that has been collected to bankroll this obscene jamboree should be immediately channelled towards rehabilitating the collapsed public hospitals, clinics and rural schools in Matabeleland North Province,” Gutu said.

Mugabe’s lavish birthday party will take place following recent revelations by economists that average incomes in Zimbabwe are now at their lowest levels in 60 years, and that about 65 percent of adults are having to make do with less than $100 a month — well below the poverty datum line.

Economists say poverty levels have reached “numbing levels”, amid indications that the situation will worsen in 2015 and beyond, as Mugabe and his Zanu PF government continue to demonstrate their inability to fix Zimbabwe.

According to the latest FinScope Consumer Survey that was released on Monday, and which was commissioned by FinMark and Zimstat, the country’s deteriorating economic conditions were forcing more and more cash-strapped citizens to live on the margins of society and without basic necessities such as food and water.

FinMark project manager, Obert Maposa, said the number of desperately poor Zimbabweans living was increasing at an alarming rate, with community access to clean water, for example, declining in the past four years, with only 29 percent having piped running water compared with 35 percent in 2011.

“The percentage of people who have had to skip a meal due to lack of money went up to 44 percent in 2014, from 29 percent four years ago, while 37 percent have gone without treatment or medicine because of lack of money, compared with 20 percent in 2011,” he said.

As a result, commentators told the Daily News that the country’s deepening economic crisis, which was worsening the already high levels of unemployment, necessitated the need for dialogue among political parties in an effort to find lasting solutions to the myriad crises.

Economist Christopher Mugaga said with the massive company closures that had been witnessed over the past few years, “it’s only a matter of time before the economy totally collapses”.

“The informalisation of the economy is a good sign of worsening poverty levels in the country. There is no way the current government would be able to save the economy without extending a hand to the opposition,” he said.

And with just two months into the new year, many struggling ordinary Zimbabweans say that they have lost all hope in the political and economic course that the country is taking.

Tens of thousands of vendors fighting for survival on congested urban streets were  recently told by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to move out of the central business district as they were allegedly not just causing congestion, but the main culprits behind the littering problem afflicting major cities.

However, economic commentators said that the government’s move, while potentially noble, was ill-timed considering that companies were closing en masse and the job market had collapsed since the turn of the millennium.

And as the ugly factional and succession wars continue to take centre stage in the ruling Zanu PF, economic experts also say there is little chance of economic growth this year, or the next.


Comments (16)

Refuse to give money to Mugabe , We are tired of this thing of we are forced to do this and that including being forced to vote for zanu that is becoming a boring cry.We have become so cowards such that we can be forced to do what we do not want by thugs and just comply without resistance. Why ?On the other note all those managers at some hotels in Vic fall who are helping zanu must be marked and the day Mugabe looses power they must also loose their jobs . These hotels are not benefiting the locals or employing them or even do community projects such as providing clean water or help buy some medicine for some clinics at nearest reserves. So what is the use of having these hotels here? . But when an outsider comes here for some funny they pump out millions of dollars which will be gobbled in a single day . Mugabe malweza ngaayo asika imalweza kumusi utuuma leza uliikujulu imvwaa inkombiyo zwesu twakatala amalweza ayaa munyika yaka yesu.Anembo akujaathana .

Diibulaanyika - 19 February 2015

Dictators have such a fond love for lavish events without realizing that the people just around the corner are starving. The Tonga people around Victoria Falls are always starving because of the dry climate there, and here is the president(a man of the people) spending $1m on his birthday. I think the Tonga people should invade the hotel with spears and arrows and take all the food to distribute to their surrounding villages so their starving children can have at least a good meal before going to school.

Chenjerai Hove - 19 February 2015

Your last birthday party evil man before you meet hell. Your days are numbered, kahure kako kachasara kachikwira nevazukuru vako. How on earth can one spend a $1m buck on a birthday party? That just shows how evil you are. Vamwe vanhu vane dzimba dzakanyura ne ma floods we never heard you say anything about their fate, why can't you just donate all that money to those families that lost their homes? DEVIL!! SATAN!!

tinorovawo - 19 February 2015

Mr Majongwe this is not a birthday for any "individual" as yu want the nation to believe. This is a birthday for our president, incumbent AU nad SADC Chairman. if yu dont respect the man at least respect the office. mind you he is reaching 91 years a feat not many will ever achieve especially you with yo womanising kumaraini kwedu uku.

ichoo - 19 February 2015

Ndokumbirawo kubvunza ,asi kana uriteacher pachikoro penyu ukati haaa ini handidi.ndirikutoda increase ....saka yekupa president handidi

manu - 19 February 2015

The Mugabe 's bash must end at Chinotimba high density area . He must not attempt to go near MUUSI UTUUMAA or commonly known as mosiya tunya bcoz the ground is very slippery and not good for any one semi blind with frail legs which can fail to stand any minute resulting in loss of balance ,Worst still it would be a bad advise for anyone who is prone to fall even on domestic carpets to walk on the very slippery edges of the falls which is full that slippery green stuff.

Diibulaanyika - 19 February 2015

You want us to believe this utter rubbish. If it is true let us hear it from the horse's (teacher) mouth.

Ndugu - 19 February 2015

No doubt ,Gono will donate 91 cattle as usual.

johnny blaze - 19 February 2015

we have read the same old hogwash about the economy collapsing, hundreds of millions of people starving, and need for including opposition political parties in finding so-called solution to Zimbabwe problems! THE PROBLEM IS ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AND SOLUTION IS LIFTING THESE MURDEROUS SANCTIONS!

critic - 19 February 2015

Everyone must wear somthing black on Saturday.

chaminuka - 19 February 2015

Have you or your family no compassion or feeling for your people at all Mr Mugabe. I pray that you will see the light and do the right thing and stand dow and let someone with compassion and common sense try and restore some kind of order and future for Zimbabwe

ken Van Staden - 19 February 2015

After 34 years and counting nhasi motuka keshaya semusingakazive. Kane mweya minomwe inenge yaRigiyoni chenjera munhu unoshaikwa usiku. Unowona kukanganyara zenze rekunzi ekiserenzi asi kakatorera munhu mukadzi, kubvutira vanhu hupfimi, vanhu vakaurayiwa anaChitepo, Tongogara, Solomon Mujuru, Gukurahundi nevamwe mumaelections opposition party panengozi dzakawanda apa. Isu togarire kure unenge uchamwayiwa mweya wadhiyabhorosi. Mwari ari kuwona hama dzangu. Musawore mwoyo kana zuva guru rasvika chipoko chake kunogara navana Khaddafi, Amini, Hussein, Hitler, Ceausescu, among others. Idyayi zvenyu sadza nemuriwo zvinotori health asi tichawona.

Musemwa Shayapasiwako - 20 February 2015

Ministry of Industry Mrs Shonhiwa Stealing Cooking Oil Contracts There is here in Ministry of Industry & Commerce where the permanent secretary a Mrs Shonhiwa only gives imports permits to her husband to import cooking oil which is in acute shortage as the shortages create fertile ground for profiteering. Mrs Shonhiwa is paid hefty allowances by surface and olivine as a way of protecting the pseudo image that the two companies have capacity to produce enough cooking oil for the country which is totally untrue and a deliberate distortion that fuels corruption at that very ministry. She only processes cooking oil permits for the army and ZANU pf through a boy called Terrence Mukupe the former CEO of Renaissance Capital that went bust. Why would the army and ZANU pf want import permits for the same product they claim to be in abundance in Zimbabwe? Great Zimbabweans I am also worried about the quality of cooking oil from Olivine, Parrogate and Surface. Two of the companies are owned by Indians. So what happened to indigenisation?

John Mutasa - 20 February 2015

@John Mutasa, you are asking a foolish question about Olive and Parrogate, who cares that the companies are owned by indians. At least they are supplying oil, if the companies were indigenised, the assets would be sold and the money would go in a fat cat's pocket as has happened with companies like ziscosteel, zupco and others. And we would not have any cooking oil. Think before you open your mazondo-trap.

blazobennie - 20 February 2015

how can anyone be force to donate money. If one doesn't have it he hasn't got it. and that's it. What part of that does anyone wouldn' t understand?

george bachinche - 20 February 2015

"After 34 years and counting nhasi motuka keshaya semusingakazive. Kane mweya minomwe inenge yaRigiyoni chenjera munhu unoshaikwa usiku. Unowona kukanganyara zenze rekunzi ekiserenzi.... . Isu togarire kure unenge uchamwayiwa mweya wadhiyabhorosi. " Musemwa Shayapasiwako wandipedza. Ndabva ndadonha pasi dhi-i. Wabva wandifungidza mazuva aya tichihuchera paBombi-Stombi uku ziso rakati dwo-o kutarisa kuti hakuna mapurisa ari kuuya here. Uri wenyambo iwe ! Ivo Gushas vakaverenga poso yako vanooma nokuseka. Unetarenta renyambo. Pandisingabvumirani newe ndepokuzotsetsemura nhoroondo yavaviri vakaridzirwa mabhosvo vachichata nokuti vaidanana - aiwa, izwo ndezwavo vari vaviri izwo.

Chorosi - 20 February 2015

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