Zanu PF is allegedly coercing shop owners in Harare and other cities to contribute money towards President Robert Mugabe’s birthday bash scheduled for February 27 in Bulawayo.
Mugabe turns 86 years-old on 21 February.
Zanu PF youths were this week delivering letters to shop owners in Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru. The letters addressed to shop owners by name requested donations for the birthday bash.
Although the letters did not say how much shop owners were expected to contribute, the youths said demanded US$50 per shop and also gave deadlines.
A copy of the letters written under Zanu PF letterheads and signed by Absolom Sikhosana, the party’s national secretary for youth affairs reads in part: “Membership and association with the Movement cuts across all political, religious, racial or any other social consideration.”
“As this is a national event where the President interfaces with the youth it becomes incumbent for the Movement to transport, feed and accommodate the youths that come from the country’s ten provinces to the venue of the celebrations.”
Some shop owners complained about the demands saying said Zanu PF could not hoodwink them into believing the event was national when the President was known to denounce other political parties at such occasions.
“This is daylight robbery and harassment,” said a businessman who owns a shop in central Harare.
“The guys that dropped the letter at my shop made it clear they wanted the money, in cash by end of day Tuesday. They also stated they wanted no less than US$50. I don’t have that kind of money to give to a cause that I am not associated with and for a party that I don’t support,” said the shop owner who asked not be named for fear of reprisal.