Zanu PF supporters in Mbare Sunday forced market traders to close their stalls and force-marched them to a rally to celebrate President Robert Mugabe’s birthday.
President Mugabe turns 87 today.
The youths went around the markets at Mbare Musika dishing out T-shirts bearing images of President Mugabe and inscribed with messages to the effect that President Mugabe would be the Zanu PF presidential candidate for elections later this year.
Even those attending church services were ordered to leave their churches to go to Mashawasha grounds where the rally was being addressed by losing Zanu PF parliamentary candidate Tendai Savanhu.
Those who were fetching water at the nearby council offices adjacent to Carter House were forced to abandon their business to join in the celebrations.
The youths marched in their hundreds and sang party songs carrying a banner written “Celebrating 87 Years — Happy Birthday Gushungo”.
A NewsDay crew came across trucks laden with mealie-meal, flour and salt destined for the venue where Zanu PF officials dished the groceries out to those that attended the rally.
Even the destroyed MDC-T offices in Mbare were “decorated” with the posters of President Mugabe.
“Why should we be forced to attend a rally or to celebrate President Mugabe’s birthday? It should be for those who want to attend,” complained a resident near the flats.
Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson said elections would be held this year whether the MDC-T wanted them or not.
“There are elections this year. Forget what the MDC-T is saying. We are certainly going for elections,” Gumbo said.
Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai however insists elections could not be held this year and threatened to boycott premature elections that would lead to a contested result.
President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team is expected in Harare this week to discuss the roadmap towards a free and fair election.
President Mugabe’s birthday celebrations will this year be held in Harare under the theme “Youth for indigenisation and empowerment.”