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Stop the junkets

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CONTROVERSY always follows President Robert Mugabe’s lavish annual birthday parties and if reports emanating from Matabeleland North are anything to go by, this year was not any different.

The communist style celebrations were this year held at a prime holiday resort in Victoria Falls and were characterised by feasting and wild merry-making.

In recent years, donations meant for the party have been stolen and in Manicaland some senior Zanu PF officials were brought before the courts accused of stealing cattle meant for the celebrations.

Zanu PF youths are often accused of using unorthodox means to force the corporate world to contribute in fundraising initiatives.

This year the celebrations hogged the limelight in the international media after Victoria Falls-based conservancy owner Tendai Musasa pledged to donate an elephant and other game for the celebrations.

Musasa operates Woodlands Safaris alongside other villagers who were allocated the conservancy.

He was accused of acting unilaterally in making the donation to the 21st February Movement.

The Zanu PF organisation has tried to distance itself from the donation saying it refused to take it.

Musasa claims that he is now being victimised by senior politicians in the province and State security agents for making the donation.

He makes various allegations that warrant an investigation by

Zanu PF and concerned government departments as it is clear that there is a story yet to be told.

However, the latest episode raises questions around the way these extravagant parties are organised.

The cost of such celebrations is too much for an ailing economy such as Zimbabwe and in most circumstances people intent on impressing the president and others in power would do everything possible including the unorthodox to assist in the fundraising.

The Woodlands dispute is a case in point. Mugabe’s image keeps getting soiled in these unnecessary scandals.

The president and his advisors should do away with these unnecessary junkets.

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