Mugabe says ‘no’ to party celebrations

Mthulisi Mathuthu

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has shot down plans to celebrate Zanu PF’s 40th anniversary which had been scheduled by the youth wing and war veterans for next month in Harare.


>



A source told the Zimbabwe Independent that Mugabe said the party could not celebrate in the middle of acute shortages of basic food stuffs.


Zanu PF was formed at former Defence minister Enos Nkala’s house in Highfield in August 1963. The celebrations this year were meant to coincide with the Heroes Day commemorations on August 11.


It is however understood the plan was rejected because of divisions in the party between the old Zanu PF and ex-PF Zapu members.


Last year ex-Zapu members, including central committee member Joshua Malinga, told the Independent that the anniversary celebrations would render redundant the 1987 Unity Accord which brought the two parties together.


Other senior members who were against the idea included vice-president Joseph Msika, ex-Home Affairs minister, Dumiso Dabengwa, deputy national commissar, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Thenjiwe Lesabe.


They slammed the proposal saying the celebrations would isolate them as they didn’t share ” the 1963 outlook”, a reference to the schism that took place that year when a group led by Ndabaningi Sithole, Herbert Chitepo, Enos Nkala and Mugabe broke away from Zapu.


“It was just a dangerous and crazy idea and we told them that it didn’t work,” said a senior politburo member.


“I do not think it will ever occur despite the fact that some are saying it should take place in December in conjunction with the conference,” Zanu PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Nathan Shamuyarira said. “The

December conference will obviously take place but I don’t know about these celebrations which you are talking about.”


Sources said the idea of celebrations was mooted in 2001 after the Victoria Falls February 21st Movement celebrations, during which the party invited regional youths to celebrate Mugabe’s birthday. The late youth director, Lovejoy Kadungure, war veteran Joseph Chinotimba, deputy secretary for youth affairs, Saviour Kaukuwere and national political commissar and youth minister, Eliot Manyika, were among the proponents of the idea.


Last year Chinotimba confirmed to the Independent that he was behind the idea and scoffed at its detractors. He said there was nothing wrong because PF Zapu was no longer there.