Fungi Kwaramba 9 April 2017
HARARE – During his mega birthday celebrations in the resort town of
Matobo, President Robert Mugabe was feted with giant cakes, his supporters
ate game meat and drank choice-ales, but almost three months on, the
presents continue pouring in for the 93-year-old.
Last week, Mugabe received an eight carat gold watch, a massage or special
chair and loads of other presents from not only his ministers, but also
from a few in the thriving informal sector.
Mugabe’s “band of bootlickers” even want February 21, the day he was born,
to be declared a national holiday.
Jimayi Muduvuri, the Zanu PF central committee member and founder of
Macsherp Investments, which presented Mugabe with rice and cooking oil as
birthday gifts before last Wednesday’s politburo meeting, said “without
Mugabe, Zimbabwe is like a face without a nose”.
“We are here because of that man. People are living well because of the
empowerment we received from the president. We will never get another
person like him. The birthday has never been private and we are saying as
Zimbabweans, that it is a cause, which is why we presented him with the
presents. It was a short notice, which is why we brought just a few items.
“I can tell you, if he is not there, Africa can collapse, the man is the
symbol of Africa. He should be made the president of Africa to advance our
interests against the British,” Muduvuri gushed.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said for Mugabe to continue to receive
birthday gifts for an anniversary that was held in February is “totally
“Bootlicking must have some `decency’. But continuing with birthday
wishes, months later, for a nonagenarian who ran down the country is
outlandish, eccentric and blase,” Saungweme said.
Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader at 93, has led the former British colony
since independence in 1980.
His critics say he has presided over the destruction of a once-promising
country with policies such as the seizures of white-owned farms; his
government blames foreign powers for sabotaging the economy and stirring
The raw statistics are damning. Under Mugabe’s watch, the economy is
teetering on the brink; the country has no currency of its own and is
plagued by cash shortages.
According to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), less than 700
000 people of the country’s 13 million population are formally employed
and thousands of Zimbabweans have lost their jobs as companies battle to
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News on Sunday that Mugabe
should have seen the irony when he got a watch and a massage chair from
his ministers, who in hush-hush tones and far from the madding crowds and
government spies are preparing for a post-Mugabe era.
“Zimbabwe will remain locked in a political and socio-economic hellhole as
long as the nonagenarian Mugabe remains at the helm as President,” Gutu
Mugabe was confirmed by supporters at a party conference in December as
his party’s sole candidate for the next presidential election in 2018,
when he will be 94.
In his 93rd birthday interview, he claimed Zimbabwe’s people and the
ruling Zanu PF party see no viable alternative candidate to him for
general elections in 2018.
“They want me to stand for elections, they want me to stand for elections
everywhere in the party … The majority of the people feel that there is
no replacement, successor who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I
am,” he said in February.
“The people, you know, would want to judge everyone else on the basis of
…Mugabe as the criteria.”
But it is clear that many are disenchanted by his rule – but there is no
doubt there is a large constituency that feels Mugabe is the messiah, like
“We are solidly behind our president. Who can stand against him in this
country? Hapana, (no one) he is a true hero for the nation and beyond,”
Indeed the special chair that Mugabe received from his ministers appears
to be in sync with what his influential wife and First Lady Grace Mugabe
said when she claimed even from a wheelchair the nonagenarian would rule
Social commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said what makes Mugabe tick is the band
of hangers-on who want him to continue so that they persist with their
“Despots have pockets of choreographed cult worshipers routinely
dispatched to give an impression of popular love.
“Even Grace doesn’t love him, because if she did, she would not expose him
to ridicule,” Ngwenya said.