Senator Misheck Marawa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) meant business when he warned, “If God does not intervene this year, people will starve to death.” The opposition party representative said that he feels bad about the poverty level in Masvingo province.
However, he postulated that the city cannot afford to host the presidential birthday in the face of penury. He insinuated that doing that would be a slap in the face of the degenerating town.
Masvingo has been selected for president Mugabe’s birthday, but the ruling party’s political opponents have come hard on the party. They said that the province has been torn apart by drought, food shortage and livestock losses. “It’s not a government thing but it’s a Zanu PF thing, but we all know they have never been sensitive to the plight of the people,” said Marawa.
Marawa lamented that “already people are eating one meal a day. A bucket of mealie-meal is now costing $8 and many can’t afford it.” He also feels that “the province is not awake to that issue. Maybe those who will be intimidated might be looking forward to this. This issue of politics has torn the country apart but what is encouraging is that the common denominator of poverty is beginning to unite us, so something will give.”
But, the ruling party-ZANU-PF members of parliaments have seen no wrong in celebrating the 92nd birthday of President Mugabe in Masvingo. They argued that “you can’t fail to celebrate Christmas even if the situation is bad in your home, you still celebrate, it’s something that is on the calendar. You can’t fail to celebrate your birthday; you don’t fail to do it regardless of circumstances,” said Lovemore Matuke, Gutu Central Zanu PF MP.
Another Masvingo ZANU-PF legislator Berita Chikwama expressed joy about the birthday bash. She simply feels that Masvingo would seize the opportunity to lay their problems before president Mugabe. She said, “as for me I’m happy he is coming. The community will be happy to see the president. It’s a visit and we accept and appreciate it. On the issue of hunger, he is trying. Social Welfare is chipping in. The government is assisting…..so we are trying.”
In 2015, Zanu PF spent over $1 million in food, transport and accommodation for its delegates in Victoria Falls, with farmers in Matabeleland North province donating cattle and wildlife, among other goodies to make Mugabe’s 91st birthday an unforgettable one. Not deterred by political attacks from opponents, the party’s youth wing has vowed to make his 92nd birthday the ‘best ever’.
Reacting to ZANU-PF’s plans, Obert Gutu of the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai said: “This is not surprising to us, but disappointing given the level of starvation our people are going through. It’s painful that Zanu PF wants to spend such a huge amount of money on a nonagenarian leader who has led this country into this calamity.”
Meanwhile ZANU-PF chief whip has accepted that Masvingo province is going through hard times. He also identified that his constituency members have suffered economic losses because of drought.
“As a district, we are affected, we can feel the disaster that has been brought by this drought. The government has started assisting with food aid but there is more that can be done,” he said