BY MOSES MATENGA
SENIOR Zanu PF officials and corporate executives yesterday fell over each other to spoil President Emmerson Mnangagwa with presents that included flowers and expensive whisky brands on his 78th birthday.
Loyalists also took the opportunity to bootlick the embattled leader whose two years in power have been characterised by increased cases of human rights abuses and a faltering economy.
As Mnangagwa celebrated his birthday on Tuesday, Zanu PF politburo members, among them party chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, secretary for administration Obert Mpofu and acting youth leader Tendai Chirau made a beeline to hand over goodies to him amid bootlicking.
“We cherish the manner in which you are championing the socio-economic agenda with a clear vision 2030 aimed at delivering prosperity to our people,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said before handing over two bouquets of flowers on behalf of the party’s politburo.
“We are, indeed, humbled to be serving under your wise leadership.”
Mpofu, who once signed off as the late former leader Robert Mugabe’s “ever obedient son”, could not be outdone in praise-singing his new boss.
“Those of us well-acquainted with your leadership credentials towards the accomplishment of the liberation assignment and the post-colonial nation-building agenda, are proud to serve under you,” Mpofu said.
Said Chirau: “On behalf of the youth league, your children, we wish you many years. We know you are dedicated to the service of this nation with your selfless leadership since the days of the liberation struggle.”
A local hotel group linked to government spoiled him with a huge cake and a bottle of Glenfiddich 18-year-old single malt scotch whisky.
“Unfortunately, this is 15 because we could not get the right package, but otherwise it is 18 years. We hope you will get time to enjoy it when you are relaxing at home,” the hotel representative said.
“We are proud to have you as our leader, we are grateful that you have allowed us to flourish even in very difficult times. It is our prayer that the Lord will give you more years so that we can enjoy being with you and learn from you as much as we can.”
Mnangagwa is said to be a whisky addict and usually takes time in his “wet season” to invite friends and colleagues at his Pricabe Farm in Kwekwe for drinks.
In an interview with the Financial Times in January 2018, Mnangagwa said the culture of a “wet and dry season” began in 1978 during the liberation struggle and has never stopped, adding that his family enjoyed him more during the “wet season”.