Zimbabwe

Budget bash? Mugabe youths seek funding for his birthday (and it's lower than 2016)

2017-01-24 12:00
Robert Mugabe. (File: AFP)

Robert Mugabe. (File: AFP)

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Harare - Have President Robert Mugabe's party youths been finally forced to take into account Zimbabwe's biting cash crunch?

They've set a fund-raising target for the president's 93rd birthday party next month - but it appears to be lower than normal.

"Each province is expected to raise $25 000 " towards the event, which this year is being held in the Matopos National Park, the state-run Chronicle reported on Monday. There are 10 provinces in Zimbabwe.

Last year youths were reportedly told to raise $30 000 from each province though some had difficulty meeting the target, according to a piece in the privately-owned Newsday in February.

Elias Sibanda, a ruling party youth official told the Chronicle on Monday: "A committee has been formed to fund-raise for the occasion... our target is 25 000 that should go to the national office." 

Fund-raising dinner 

No explanation was given for the reduced target. But Zimbabwe's current cash squeeze that sees the payment of civil servants' salaries regularly delayed could be a factor.

Government teachers have previously complained that they have been forced to contribute to the holding of the party.

Of course, the $250 000 fund-raising target doesn't mean that that will necessarily be the total cost of Mugabe's birthday. Last year's party reportedly cost at least $800 000.

There will almost certainly be other sources of cash, food and cakes to make the party a success. There was outrage from many outside Zimbabwe at Mugabe's 91st birthday party, when a landowner donated an elephant (and other game) to feed party-goers. A fund-raising dinner was held last year, while diamond firms were also told to contribute. 

Mugabe, who's currently on holiday, turns 93 on February 21.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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