Reports that Zanu PF is planning an $800 000 party for its leader, President Robert Mugabe, betrays the party’s callousness and disregard for Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of probably its worst drought in generations and the ruling party and government should be working on efforts to mitigate the effects of this lean period, instead of splashing money on Mugabe’s shindig.
Mugabe has every right to celebrate his 92nd birthday, but considering the state of Zimbabwe’s food security situation, it would be applaudable if he hosted a small celebration and money raised to fete him directed to the disaster effort.
A number of world leaders have shelved holding celebrations when their nations are in crises and we believe that this drought is one such extraordinary circumstance that should compel Zanu PF to postpone or cancel Mugabe’s jamboree in solidarity with the hungry majority.
It is worth pointing out that Zanu PF plans to host its party in Masvingo, one of the provinces likely to be hardest hit by the El Niño weather patterns in the country.
The optics there will present a very uncaring Zanu PF, which parties and feasts while people and animals around them feel the full effects of the drought.
If we are to help Zanu PF with the mathematics, a tonne of maize costs $390 in Zimbabwe and with $800 000, the party can buy 2 051 tonnes, which could go a long way in helping, particularly, the rural folk with food during this lean period.
Were the maize to be imported from Zambia or South Africa, that money could buy so much more maize for the starving folk.
This year’s 21st February Movement celebrations, if they are to proceed at the reported cost, would be quite akin to the late French Queen Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” jibe, as millions of Zimbabweans will be without food and yet Zanu PF is blind to their circumstances.
In yesterday’s edition, we published a picture of emaciated cows wandering on the dry Save riverbed, with not even a single blade of grass in the distance, an indication that all is not well and if there are no interventions, we will have starvation and deaths not seen since the 1992 drought.
The picture we published should be enough to shock anyone and jolt authorities into action.
These are extraordinary times needing extraordinary interventions and cancelling this year’s 21st February Movement celebrations or at least scaling down massively will be an indicator that Zanu PF listens.
What Zimbabwe needs now is a leadership that cares and Zanu PF can demonstrate that it has the people’s concerns at heart by prioritising their needs.