AN uproar has ensued over Zanu PF plans to throw President Robert Mugabe a lavish bash at the resort town of Victoria Falls to mark his 91st birthday at an estimated cost of over a million dollars at a time when the generality of the population is wallowing in poverty.
Media reports have been awash that several elephants and other wildlife would be slaughtered to feed the crowd that is to be bussed to Elephant Hills Hotel, the venue of what the opposition MDC-T describes as an obscene jamboree.
What is shocking and disturbing is that the partying comes at a time when average incomes in Zimbabwe are now at their lowest in 60 years and more than 76% of the country’s adult population is surviving on less than $200 per month.
That is the tragic and sad legacy of Mugabe’s rule since independence from colonial Britain in 1980.
Instead of addressing the ills bedevilling the comatose economy and creating employment, Mugabe and his hangers-on have no qualms in wasting scarce national resources eating several tonnes of meat, quaffing expensive whisky and drinking huge quantities of beer and wines when the rest of the country is thirsty and starving.
The partying in the middle of poverty confirms what the opposition has always said: Mugabe’s priorities are upside down. This newspaper reported last week about the sad state of affairs at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo which is relying on a single thermometer.
Instead of dealing with pressing serious national issues such as rehabilitating the country’s collapsed public health delivery system as well as the renovation of the nation’s dilapidated road and rail infrastructure, Zanu PF has seen it fit to blow over a million to massage the ego of the nonagenarian.
This is rank madness which confirms Mugabe and his party are insensitive to the plight of the generality of the population, the bulk of who are battling to put food on table every day.
As MDC-T national spokesperson Obert Gutu rightly observed, Zimbabwe has moved from being a proud net food exporter and bread basket of Southern Africa at independence in April 1980, to a basket case.
Mugabe and Zanu PF have mismanaged the country and in the process have reduced a once proud people with a sophisticated mixed economy into a basket case. If Mugabe has a conscience he should do the right thing: Call off the obscene party.