AS has become tradition, parastatals and State-linked companies literally tripped over each other to wish President Robert Mugabe a happy 90th birthday last Friday.
The messages, all fawning and laced with effusive praise for the 90-year-old leader, have become the norm over the years, as companies try to outdo each other in bootlicking Mugabe.
Leading the pack this year was Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, a former Information minister and Zanu PF politburo member, who penned a full page tribute in honour of his party leader.
“With many of his counterparts, colleagues and family members who could add light having departed, we who are remaining have the solemn task and responsibility to answer the big question about the big man, the revolutionary icon,” Ndlovu gushed in his opening line of the tribute published by State media.
Mugabe turned 90 on Friday, confirming his place in history as Africa’s oldest leader and the world’s second after Israel’s Shimon Peres.
The Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS), in the eye of a public storm over outlandish salaries it gave its executives, did not miss the opportunity to shower Mugabe with praises, describing his birthday as “rarely attained birthday for a rare man”.
Other messages came from ministries, like the Defence ministry, which has never missed an opportunity to congratulate Mugabe on such occasions.
This time the ministry led by Sidney Sekeremayi wished the president “more successful years”.
“May the almighty continue to give you, Your Excellency, good health, unparalleled wisdom and many more successful years in future,” the ministry said.
Parastatals that have been struggling to pay their workers, like the National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Cold Storage Company, suddenly found money to place colourful advertisements expressing their awe at Mugabe’s age and continued stay in power.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police, which is accused of being biased towards Mugabe and Zanu PF, had one of the longest tributes, congratulating him on the ‘attainment of 90 fruitful years.’
Police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri is referred to as comrade in the advert, a title normally used for Zanu PF members.
But questions would be asked on these companies’ priorities.
While they splash money on adverts, the country is struggling to raise money for flood victims in Tsholotsho and Tokwe-Mukosi.
Mugabe has in the past been the recipient of gushing praise from his ministers, with the late former deputy minister, Tony Gara infamously saying the president was God’s other son.
“(Zimbabwe) and its people should thank the Almighty for giving us his only other son — by the name of Robert Gabriel Mugabe,” Gara said then.
There have been some other eccentric compliments heaped on Mugabe, more recently, Transport minister, Obert Mpofu signed off a letter describing himself as Mugabe’s ever obedient son.