Mugabe holds low-key birthday celebrations

By Prince Kurupati

Robert Mugabe, the former Zimbabwean president who had been in power for 37 years before he was deposed by the country’s security forces in November last year turned 94 on 21 February. Zimbabweans had become accustomed to huge birthday celebrations for the long-time leader in recent years with huge cakes paraded but it was a different tune this year as Mugabe postponed celebrations on the actual date (21 February) to a later date.

The celebrations were ultimately held on Saturday 24 February at his Blue Roof Mansion in Harare, Zimbabwe but it was a far cry from the outlandish and extravagant bashes that the country had become used to.

While in previous years, Mugabe’s birthday was celebrated to large gatherings at different sports stadiums dotted around the country, this year, Mugabe’s birthday celebrations were held at his home in the presence of a few invited guests.

Louisa Nyanhongo, a member of Mugabe’s inner circle said that the 94th occasion for Mugabe would be a private affair of close relatives and friends. She said that the event will be a private black tie event when asked before the birthday celebration.

There was an invitation card that took turns on different social media sites on Friday which according to reports was the actual invitation card for Mugabe’s birthday. On it, it was written that the birthday celebrations would be in commemoration of ‘a hero’. It, however, didn’t feel like a commemoration of a hero at least according to the pictures that leaked a day before the birthday celebrations where a gloomy Mugabe and his wife posed for a picture with the visiting African Union Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Surprising as it is, ‘The Standard’, a daily newspaper in Zimbabwe reports that Mugabe invited some of the people who helped topple him from office. Among them is the current Minister of Home Affairs, Obert Mpofu a controversial figure who served under the Mugabe regime as a Minister from 2000 under different portfolios. The Standard reports that there was an awkward moment during the birthday celebrations when Mugabe asked Mpofu why he states that he (Mugabe) was a dictator. It’s reported that a burst of laughter from other dignitaries present lightened the seemingly tense situation before Mpofu replied saying he does not view Mugabe as a dictator.

During the same exchanges, it’s reported that Mugabe said that his wife is ‘crying everyday’ as they are people who are making life difficult for her. Mugabe also told close friends and relatives that he is feeling lonely, remarks that have also been echoed by Joice Mujuru after she visited him at his residence. Joice Mujuru is a former Vice President of Mugabe who he fired some years back over allegations of trying to usurp power through witchcraft.

Though Zimbabweans did not have to witness the long speeches of Mugabe that he used to recite on his birthday, they still observed and honoured the day as it was declared a public holiday (Robert Mugabe National Youth Day) by the current Mnangagwa administration. The former ZANU (PF) Youth League leader, Kudzai Chipanga advocated for Mugabe’s birthday to be declared a national holiday last year. The holiday was gazetted last year as the Robert Mugabe National Youth Day but there were doubts that the new administration would honour the Gazette and declare it a national holiday. By declaring Mugabe’s birthday, Mnangagwa showed that he still has the utmost respect for Mugabe.

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One Comment

  1. Whereas the people were happy that Mugabe was removed from office, its not pleasing to note that Mnangagwa is ruling illegally. ZANU PF lost opportunity of impeaching Mugabe which could have legalized Mnangagwa’s rule. What we have is a military government and there is need for Mnangagwa to announce the date of election now. It is important to know well in advance the election date so that we can prepare. Unlike ZANU PF and MDC-T that gets an nallocation of the tax-payer’s money under the Zimbabwe Political Parties Finance Act because of their thresh hold in parliament, us Good People’s Movement : Zimbabwe People’s Party (GPM:ZPP) we do not get anything. In an oppressive state like Zimbabwe, people would not want to be known that they have sponsored your party for fear of victimization. So, a lot of personal resources are being used for the sake of achieving democratic civilization. Yes personally since the party started I have used thousands of dollars, time and personal effort to change our situation. The Political Finance Act is a major impediment of all the electoral reforms that may be required. If Mugabe was running this country well, we could be saying that we have our own resources. But Mugabe strategy was to impoverish potential skills that were not in line with his thinking so as to kill democracy by suffocating such individuals economically. Dismissed from job for voicing against corruption, blacklisted for no apparent reason so that you can not do financial transactions, and all sorts of attempts to incriminate me in particular so that I was suppose to be jailed on false allegations. But all storms could not bear positive results for the teettaller’s regime. This orchestrated coup de tat was meant to spruce up the image of ZANU PF and for it to achieve its long cherished goal to achieve One-Party-State in Zimbabwe. MDC-T was compromised when it dined and bedded with ZANU PF in parliament and the lethargic corruption of ZANU PF became the behaviour of MDC-T. This is what we see everyday. Recently two weeks ago MDC-T Councilors rushed to Ghana to close up their Private Parking Business which they used City of Harare Money to set up and the City of Harare never got any return but the Councilors and selected Council Officials were squandering the profits from that deal. So splash extravagance at Mugabe’s birthday becomes the corruption DNA that MDC-T also bought into. GPM:ZPP want to bring back Zimbabwe to better relations. We can not change History. But we can use the advantages of History to advance our agenda. Zimbabwe must be back into the Common Wealth. Zimbabwe must have its own currency and give equal opportunities to investors from Europe, USA, Asia and Africa. We no longer want self aggrandizement but we want Nation Building. GPM:ZPP is beyond color bar, its beyond language differencies. It is a Party for Zimbabweans. My government will make strong and decisive decisions to bring civilization to Zimbabwe. The corrupt life style displayed by ZANU PF and MDC-T is not sustainable to Zimbabwe. We want serious investors here, not to rob them but to be good business partners.

    Yes Mnangagwa has not achieved anything in the past 100 days because the situation on the ground is telling us so. His major achievement was to become an illegal President. Had ZANU PF went ahead and impeach Mugabe, Mnangagwa could be legitimate. So what is required is to hold elections and have a legitimate leader. The date of election must be known well in advance so that we do not hold an ambush election.

    At least less resources were used at Mugabe’s birthday as this used to run into millions of state money.

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