Former President Robert Mugabe yesterday reportedly turned down a public birthday bash organised for him by the Zanu PF youth league, opting to privately celebrate his 94th anniversary with his close family members.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE/ DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The Zanu PF youth league had approached his family with a proposal to have a mini-party for its former leader, who was removed from power in November last year following a military intervention.
According to sources, Mugabe refused to be treated to a mini-bash by the Zanu PF youth league due to the manner his party and the military treated him before his resignation.
“He wants to be with his family and those who love him genuinely and not those who want to abuse his name for political gains,” a close family member, said.
“The family would want to hold the birthday party for our old man, as a private event. But critically, what business does the party have for a man they removed in the manner they did?”
Born on February 21, 1924, Mugabe trained as a teacher and taught in then Rhodesia and Ghana before returning home to join the guerrilla war against white-minority rule.
He became prime minister after Zimbabwe attained independence from Britain in 1980. He later became president in 1987.
Zanu PF youth secretary, Pupurai Togarepi, confirmed yesterday that there was no bash at Mugabe’s residence, as they had anticipated. Togarepi said instead, the youth would still celebrate their former leaders’ legacy through charitable works.
“We are only celebrating Robert Mugabe Youth Day. As for a birthday celebration, it’s a private function, which is confidential for me to give you a programme,” he said. The youth league last week indicated a delegation would visit Mugabe at his private residence in Borrowdale Brooke to give a birthday treat to the 94-year-old icon.
Had it not been for the military action in November, this year’s birthday bash for Mugabe would have been held in Nyanga, hosted under the auspices of the 21st February Movement.
The Zanu PF youth league, then under the leadership of Kudzanayi Chipanga, who has since been expelled, was already mobilising resources when Mugabe was forced to resign.