via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Blow for Mugabe’s 90th birthday gig 21 January 2014
ZANU-PF has centralised this year’s fundraising campaigns for the 21st February Movement in a desperate bid to curb the increasing extortion of companies and individuals by its members using the party’s name.
The 21st February Movement organises annual celebrations to commemorate President Robert Mugabe’s birthday.
Mugabe turns 90 next month and the movement always throws lavish birthday parties with thousands being treated to free food and drinks.
Some Zanu-PF youths in Bulawayo were fingered for trying to extortmoney from some non-black-owned companies they approached to pay some form of “protection fee” soon after the elections, threatening those that did not comply with expropriation.
Bulawayo provincial youth chairperson Khumbulani Mpofu said the new fundraising arrangement was communicated to all provincial youth chairpersons at a recent meeting in Harare.
“This year, a new approach will be adopted towards fundraising for the president’s birthday, the 21st February Movement,” Mpofu said.
“All donations will be handled by a national fundraising committee of which I am a member.
“The main reason is to get rid of our members extorting money from individuals using the party name.
“You might be aware that was happening in Bulawayo in the past,” Mpofu said.
He said some youths were taking advantage of the party and soliciting donations from companies and unsuspecting individuals and not handing over proceeds to the leadership.
However, sources within the party’s structures in Bulawayo said the new approach had irked a section of the youth league that was eyeing to cash in on Mugabe’s birthday.
“After the executive meeting, some comrades, especially those not gainfully employed, openly expressed disappointment at the announcement.
“They were used to just writing a letter on a Zanu-PF letterhead and moving around industries demanding donations which were never handed over.
“So it’s a huge blow to some comrades,” the source said.
Several high profile party members have in the past been fingered for converting funds and gifts meant for Mugabe’s birthday bash to their personal use.
Last year, former Zanu-PF Manicaland chairperson Mike Madiro was taken to court on charges of not handing over 10 beasts donated by a Chipinge farmer for Mugabe’s birthday celebrations.
Most companies and other well-to-do individuals are expected to cough up huge sums of cash to celebrate a private occasion which the ruling Zanu-PF party has nevertheless elevated to a national event.