Zimbabwe: Mugabe’s Birthday Bash to Cost $1 Million as MDC Asks Money to be Channeled to Development

News from Africa

The Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change has since asked President Robert Mugabe to call off his birthday celebrations and donate the money raised to rehabilitate public hospitals, clinics and rural schools in Matebeleland North.

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF party is planning to spend $1 million on President Robert Mugabe’s 91 birthday bash to be held in the resort town of Victoria Falls on February 21.

The ruling party’s youth secretary for finance, Tongai Kasukuwere told New Zimbabwe.com that so far fundraising is half way through and they were expecting more donations from individuals and companies.

“We have sourced more than half of what we want and more companies and individuals are promising to contribute in the near future,” said Kasukuwere.

“We are looking at a sizable figure which is befitting the magnitude of the person whose birthday we are celebrating. To us as Zanu PF youths, this is a moment to celebrate his achievements and greatness and celebrate what he has done for Africa and the world as a whole,” he said.

The anniversary is usually celebrated lavishly by the communist-styled February 21st Movement and the economic hardships that the majority of Zimbabweans face have done little to dampen the mood. The 21st February Movement was set up in 1986 to mobilize resources to celebrate the president’s birthday each year.

Usually Zanu PF heavyweights compete to donate to the fund.

The Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change has since asked President Robert Mugabe to call off his birthday celebrations and donate the money raised to rehabilitate public hospitals, clinics and rural schools in Matebeleland North.

“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,” the party said in a statement.

“All the money that has been collected to bankroll this obscene jamboree should be immediately channeled towards rehabilitating the collapsed public hospitals, clinics and rural schools in Matebeleland North province.

“Any food items and other materials that have been ‘donated’ for Mugabe’s birthday bash should be handed over to the Jairos Jiri centre and other orphanages in Bulawayo.”

Last year, Zanu PF said it had spent another $1 million on President Mugabe’s 90th birthday bash, most of which purportedly came out of donations and state funds.

Zimbabwe’s per capita income stands at a paltry $589 – far lower than the rest of sub-Saharan Africa’s, and Mugabe’s policies are widely believed to be the reason behind the economic plight

Mugabe told Zanu-PF members at a party congress in December last year that he had no intention of retiring despite his advanced age.

“I am here for as long as I am still sane… I still have a bright mind; I still have will. I know our history more than you do,” he said.

Mr Mugabe is well known for his uncompromising stance towards the West and the colonizing powers he blames for many of Africa’s ills.

Early this month while returning from the Africa Union summit where he had assumed the chairmanship, Mugabe slipped as he stepped down the podium and fell on his knees-a development which many saw as a sign that he is living on borrowed times.