This came out during the parliamentary feedback meeting held at Watsomba business centre on Saturday. Irate villagers said the money was collected at each homestead by the ward fundraising committee and later forwarded to the provincial fundraising committee. Those who failed to pay the $5 were black-listed and were being denied government inputs and food aid.
Said a furious villager: “There was a programme that was put in place to force us pay $5 per family head towards President Mugabe’s birthday. Those who have failed are being denied farming inputs and food aid.”
The villagers at the meeting portrayed anger and disbelief as many people felt that the move was not justified considering that there were other pertinent issues that required their financial attention. Said another villager: “Why should be forced to contribute towards that birthday? Why not fund-raise money for the millions of children who couldn’t afford to pay school fees?”
The Mutasa Central Member of Parliament, Trevour Saruwaka, who convened the meeting, said Mugabe’s birthday contributions were not compulsory. “Mugabe’s contributions are not passports to accessing government assistance. It should be made very clear that any support from the government is as a result of the tax collections and assistance from the NGOs. Those are lies being said that those who fail to pay the birthday contributions will not receive free government inputs and food aid. No one should be denied food aid because of failing to pay for Mugabe birthday contributions,” he said.
The ruling party has in previous years forced villagers, new farmers and even companies to contribute towards Mugabe’s birthday celebrations.Post published in: News