Zimbabwe’s aging President Robert Mugabe on Saturday addressed thousands of Zanu PF supporters who had attended his 93rd birthday celebrations in Matopo but surprisingly the nonagenarian did not mention anything about floods currently ravaging some parts of the Matabeleland provinces.
Instead Mugabe, in his speech which lasted for over an hour ranted about factionalism in his Zanu PF party.
Although the gala is a ‘private’ function, Mugabe and his Zanu PF have turned it into a State function.
In his speech, Mugabe spoke about his death, his auto-biography, bond notes, command agriculture and the national youth service. It’s not the first time that Mugabe has paid lip service to the country’s pressing issues.
“I want now to refer to our problem, problem, problem, apparently unending problem of these divisions, divisions in the party,” Mugabe said.
Some parts of Matabeleland South and North provinces were recently hit by a tropical Cyclone which left hundreds of villagers stranded as floods swept their homes and livestock.
Although in Tsholotsho the government through the Civil Protection Unit tried to swiftly provide assistance to villagers, the calamity which also hit parts of Bulilima, Matabeleland South, is yet to be declared a national disaster.
“It’s his nature that Mugabe is not at all moved by the suffering of the ordinary Zimbabweans. He’s all about himself and his henchmen,” political activist Iphithule Maphosa said in reference to Mugabe’s speech.
“If anything, Mugabe should have cancelled the unnecessary partying and donated the funds used to Tsholotsho flood victims. It’s high time Mugabe prioritised the welfare of the Zimbabwean citizens in all aspects and stop concentrating on his person and ego.”
Maphosa said it was not surprising that Mugabe did not talk about flood victims because he has a checkered history concerning Matabeleland.
“…it is however not surprising that Mugabe did not bother himself about the flood victims noting that Tsholotsho is in Matabeleland, a region Mugabe has not hidden his hatred of.
“He simply does not give a hoot about these communities for rejecting to vote for him since 1980,” Maphosa argued in conversation with The Citizen Bulletin.”
Mugabe’s lavish birthday was hosted despite calls by several pressure groups in Matabeleland to have the annual feast stopped and hosted elsewhere.
They argued that it was an insult for Mugabe to hold the celebrations close to Bhalagwe, an infamous death camp where innocent civilians supporting the late vice president Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo were killed by members of the North Korean army allegedly sent by Mugabe.
“His power retention strategy is also of pleasing his core of supporters using state funds in order to keep their loyalty approaching elections in 2018, so he keeps their company at lavish parties than addressing national social issues,” Maphosa fumed.