Mugabe throws grand party

President Robert Mugabe is planning a grand celebration tomorrow at the giant National Sports Stadium in Harare as he battles to show a semblance of legitimacy after his July 31 election victory was heavily disputed.

STAFF REPORTERS

Tomorrow has also been declared a public holiday, according to the State-controlled ZBC.

A least 40 heads of State are scheduled to attend the inauguration.

In an interview yesterday, acting Harare governor Alfred Tome said preparations were at an advanced stage.

“It’s a huge event, which we expect to be graced by at least 40 heads of State or their representatives,” he said.

“Harare will be provided with 30 buses while all the other provinces will have 10 buses each for those who want to attend the inauguration.”

He said people were expected to start arriving at the stadium by six in the morning tomorrow and be seated by 9.30am.

The event is billed to be as big as Mugabe’s inauguration as Prime Minister in 1980.

Tome said a number of local musicians including Alick Macheso and Cde Chinx complemented by foreign stars including South African group Mafikizolo and Zambian outfit Amayenge.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has claimed he is not aware that Mugabe will be sworn in tomorrow. He said it was not in his character to attend Mugabe’s “private functions”.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka told Southern Eye yesterday that his boss’s in-tray was empty, signalling that no invitation had been sent to him from the Office of the President.

“We are not aware of any presidential inauguration taking place in Zimbabwe and we have not received any invitation to that effect,” he said.

“Tsvangirai’s in-tray is empty. Who is being sworn in?”

Mugabe is set to be sworn in tomorrow to begin a fresh five-year mandate, following last month’s election.

“It has never been part of our policy as MDC-T to attend Robert Mugabe’s personal functions. So we are not attending anything,” Tamborinyoka insisted.

MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said he doubted whether the party leadership would grace Mugabe’s inauguration ceremony.
“I am not aware whether there has been such an invitation,” he said. “If there is, I do not see the party attending.”

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