Begging bowl out for Bob’s birthday bash

BY GIFT PHIRI
HARARE - The ruling Zanu (PF) party has taken its begging bowl to the corporate sector, forcing companies to bankroll President Robert Mugabe's 83rd birthday bash next month.
The governing Zanu (PF) party is seeking Z$10 billion from private companies, already weighed down by


a
Comrade Bob ” Handiende!!!!”
deepening economic crisis.
The fundraising committee, chaired by Chipinge South MP, Enoch Porusingazi, has set a target of Z$10 billion with each of the country’s 10 provinces expected to raise Z$1 billion.
The ruling Zanu(PF) party’s kindergarten or “21st February Movement” is stating in its letters that it would like to content itself with a series of children’s parties around the country in honour of the 83rd birthday of President Mugabe.
In past years, taxpayers and state employees, headed by the loyal cadres of the Central Intelligence Organisation, were expected to club in for the cost of far more lavish celebrations. Parents were exhorted to give their children presents so the day became associated in young minds with a supplementary – or alternative – Christmas.
Many companies and other well-to-do individuals are expected to cough up millions to celebrate a private occasion which the ruling Zanu (PF) party has nevertheless elevated to a national event.
The party’s reasoning for soliciting contributions is because everyone who has become rich in post-independent Zimbabwe has done so because Mugabe led the liberation struggle. So his birthday is seen as payback time.
And Zimbabwe’s grinding economic crisis has done nothing to alter the ruling party’s ambitions to mark its leader’s 83rd birthday on February 21 with hefty donations.
Schoolchildren and Zanu (PF) youth brigades from the 10 political provinces will hold parades to mark the occasion. As in previous years, it is planned as a military-style operation dubbed the 21st February Movement.
Porusingazi said the money was needed to “mark our president’s birthday with dignity”.
A circular signed by Zanu (PF) youth leader, Absolom Sikhosana, has been sent to all major companies in Zimbabwe asking for donations towards Mugabe’s birthday celebrations.
“Once again as a nation we are celebrating His Excellency, Comrade R G Mugabe’s birthday … we are kindly appealing for cash or kind to make this year’s event a historic and memorable one for the children. Kindly make cash donations payable to 21st February Movement. The account number is 4125-031273003 ZimBank. The 21st February Movement seeks to instill our cherished national values among our youth e.g. it seeks to develop individuals who can confidently defend those values.”
The money targeted for the event could feed hundreds of thousands of hungry children in a nation in which a quarter of the population is surviving on World Food Programme handouts and where fuel and electricity shortages have become the norm.
Observers said monies raised for the president’s birthday should be used to help needy children, especially those seeking life-saving operations, instead of creating a cult of the ageing despot.


Lightening
Foreign currency sales ( 16-01-07)

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