PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s belated birthday celebrations in Gomoza, Lupane, on Saturday were mired in controversy following allegations that meat donated for the occasion went missing.
Report by Nduduzo Tshuma
The Zanu PF Youth League, under the auspices the 21st February Movement, is responsible for organising Mugabe’s birthday celebrations and the weekend party was presided over by the party secretary for youth in the politburo, Absolom Sikhosana.
Party sources said Zanu PF central committee member Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu, who is the wife of Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu, donated money for the purchase of two beasts for the function.
However, those who attended the event said they had only seen one carcass, which was shared among the multitude of people who attended the celebrations, with indications that another beast had been stolen.
Zanu PF insiders said the disappearance of meat from the other beast dampened what would have been good celebrations.
“The event was well organised, those responsible for mobilising did an excellent job as people came in their numbers,” an insider said. “It only became embarrassing when it came to the distribution of food, as the beef was not enough.”
The source said people had to scramble for the little chicken and goat meat that had been cooked, as the beef was not enough for the guests.
“There was insufficient food because the meat from the other beast was nowhere to be seen,” the insider continued. “People were eventually served with meat from one beast as well as chicken and goat meat, but had the other beast been made available everyone would have been fed well.”
A top Zanu PF youth official confirmed receiving reports that meat had been stolen, although he declined to comment as he had not attended the Lupane celebrations.
Sikhosana yesterday said he was not aware that any meat was stolen.
“I do not know anything about that, but could you contact (Zanu PF) Matabeleland North? Maybe they might shed light on the matter,” he said.
Matabeleland North Zanu PF provincial youth chairman Delay Ncube confirmed receiving a donation to purchase two beasts, but said they ended up buying one. He said they used part of the money to cover other expenses.
“No meat was stolen. We had a donation to buy two beasts, but ended up buying one and committed the other money elsewhere,” he said.
This is the second such incident surfacing this year following the court appearances of suspended Zanu PF Manicaland chairman Mike Madiro and acting provincial chair Dorothy Mabika on charges of stealing 10 beasts meant for President Robert Mugabe’s birthday celebrations last year.