CABINET ministers, parastatal bosses and other businesspeople have this week been falling over each other donating towards President Robert Mugabe’s 91st birthday banquet in a move described by analysts as a ploy to curry favour with the Zanu PF leader in order to retain their political posts and “protect their ill-gotten wealth”.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Mugabe celebrates his 91st birthday in Victoria Falls on Saturday amid reports that a whopping $1 million has been mobilised for the annual festivities.
Several Zanu PF officials have lined up to shower Mugabe with gifts and presents with Transport minister Obert Mpofu and Information minister Jonathan Moyo having splashed $40 000 in cash and 20 beasts respectively for the jamboree.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda donated two beasts and several other Zanu PF bigwigs have also doled out various gifts ahead of the celebrations.
Analysts said it was sad that Cabinet ministers and parastatal bosses were splashing large sums of money towards Mugabe’s birthday with the hope of getting favours from him while the majority of the population was surviving on barely $1 per day.
“It shows some of the ministers are well-to-do-amidst general poverty in Zimbabwe and the demonstration of loyalty to Mugabe now seems more important than coherent policies to move the country forward,” political analyst Takura Zhangazha said.
“On the parastatals, it’s a worrying trend given that none of them have shown interest to really make the economic blueprint work for the good of the people who are suffering,” Zhangazha added.
Another analyst, Pedzisai Ruhanya, said: “It tells us of the selfish nature of those running the affairs of the State that they are not interested in the welfare of the people they represent. They are interested in accumulation of power to use for their selfish economic gains.
“That is why they rush to make donations in the wake of failure to pay their workers. They are concerned with making sure their patron is happy and continues to appoint them not to serve the public, but to accumulate more wealth and power,” he added.
Another analyst said this year’s massive donations were also inspired by the ongoing purge in Zanu PF where several minister have been booted out on charges of clandestinely plotting Mugabe’s downfall.
Several ministers have been exposed for failure to pay their private workers’ salaries while many others have accumulated huge unpaid debts elsewhere.