Blessings Mashaya and Jeffrey Muvundusi 10 February 2017
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s 93rd birthday celebrations will be held
on February 25 in Matopos, Matabeleland South, Zanu PF youth league
Addressing the media yesterday the league’s leader, Kudzanai Chipanga,
said “the party is now geared for the event”.
“On February 17, we are going to have our fundraising dinner,” he said,
adding that “preparations of the event are at an advanced staged”.
However, he could not disclose how much they targeted to raise.
“On the issue of budget, it is difficult for us to announce the exact
budget because . . . this year we asked each province to cater for its own
people,” Chipanga said.
He added that plans to declare Mugabe birthday a public holiday were at an
This comes as National Youth Service (NYS) graduates – popularly known as
green bombers – have described threats by opposition parties and civic
groups to mobilise people to boycott the bash, to be held at Rhodes Estate
Preparatory School (Reps), as empty.
MDC deputy president Thokozani Khupe and Zimbabwe People First (ZPF)
president Joice Mujuru criticised the hosting of the event near Bhalagwe –
a Gukurahundi flash spot where thousands of victims are said to have been
thrown in a disused mine shaft.
Mujuru has said Mugabe should shoulder the blame as he was the mastermind
of the North Korean-trained army unit, Fifth Brigade, which killed an
estimated 20 000 people in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
NYS Bulawayo chapter spokesperson Ndifasi Banda said: “As the youths, we
have heard enough stories about boycott threats.
“Let them be warned that we are not intimidated by such empty statements
from opposition parties and civic society.”
“If you have realised those are just political grandstanding statements
because they urge people to boycott but you won’t see them on the ground.”
The youth brigade – who in the past have been used to unleash a wave of
violence and intimidation against the opposition in previous elections –
are trained at Border Gezi, a tented site named after former hard-line
“If they (opposition) become violent, we have enough police to handle
that,” Banda said, adding that “in fact, the State security agents are
alert but if becomes worse we will then intervene”.
Banda, who is also a Zanu PF district chair, said Mugabe was a national
leader with a right to hold celebrations in any part of the country.
“Honestly, what these people are saying does not make sense, why bring the
past on a celebration. Besides, this issue (Gukurahundi) was addressed
when . . . Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo signed a Unity Accord (in 1987). We
should be talking of reconciliation rather than opening wounds of the
past,” he said.
Banda said they were already working with the Zanu PF Youth League to
mobilise over 10 000 youths from the second city to grace the