Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
THE successful hosting of President Mugabe’s 93rd birthday celebration in Matobo last Saturday has silenced critics who, prior to the event, made all manner of futile attempts to organise protests.
Zimbabweans are a mature lot hence there was no incident of any disturbances by the likes of the MDC-T associated Tajamuka grouping and the rest of the opposition parties as earlier threatened.
As thousands of Zanu-PF supporters made their pilgrimage to the historical district of Matobo, doubting Thomases were reminded once again that the ruling party is still by far the most popular party in the land.
And that President Mugabe got solidarity messages from his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and fellow African liberation movements confirm that the celebrations are not only a national event but recognised the world over.
Braving the heavy rains that pounded all parts of the country, Zanu-PF supporters came in their numbers to show solidarity with their President and even expressing support for him in the 2018 elections.
The cheerful mood of the crowd, including the people of Matobo, dismissed claims prior to the celebrations that the fete would evoke memories of Gukurahundi.
The MDC-T and its surrogate organisations had gone to town saying the holding of the celebrations in Matobo was insensitive.
Instead, the event hosted in a rainbow province where many of the country’s languages are spoken, united Zimbabweans in celebrating the life of one of Africa’s surviving icons.
The Zanu-PF youth league who organised the celebrations were also amazed at the huge turnout to the party with secretary for youth affairs, Cde Kudzai Chipanga, saying the event had surpassed their expectations.
“The programme went on very well, more than we were expecting because of various reasons, the first reason being geographical location of the site we had chosen. We had chosen the middle of a game park where there were no villagers living in the surroundings. In terms of attendance, we are quite pleased,” said Cde Chipanga.
So great was the occasion, he said, that even the heavens held back the rains to allow the successful hosting of the party.
“In recent days it has been raining, even during the night. But just because the President descended on this place, the rains stopped and we had some sunshine,” said Cde Chipanga in a post celebrations interview.
“As you can see that the President is done with his speeches and we are through with the programme, we are about to receive some rains again. So to us it means President Mugabe is not an ordinary person. President Mugabe has got some divine anointing from the Lord Almighty. As we always say, President Mugabe is unlike any other leader in the world. President Mugabe is God-given and it can even be witnessed by the weather.”
The numbers could have been more had it not been for the incessant rains that fell earlier and made navigation to Matobo impossible for some.
Nevertheless, the numbers were telling in many ways as they served to silence all the political parties and pressure groups that made noise about the event being held in Matobo.
Even President Mugabe was impressed by the turnout at the celebrations calling on the youth league to “keep the fire burning.”
“And I take this opportunity to thank the youth league on this occasion for its energy redoubtable energy. It was only yesterday when they decided on organising the One Million Man March. The youth showed that they can do it and they did it and surprised everybody,” said President Mugabe.
“Never before has there been an organised One Million Man March. Some people poo-pooed the idea and said they can never do it. But the youth said they will do it, they can do it. We said fine, do it, and they did it. They did it and surprised everybody.
“Cde Chipanga, the dynamism that is in you and others must not get extinguished. The fire in you let it continue to burn, properly burn in support of the party. We thank you and I repeat again, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The celebrations were by all measures a huge success and no amount of antics by the opposition can change that fact.
Most importantly, events like last Saturday’s celebrations and the Million Man March that President Mugabe alluded to serve as indicators of the amount of support that the President and the ruling Zanu-PF enjoy.
The events are a painful reminder to the opposition and fellow Western puppets especially ahead of the 2018 where, by the look of numbers, Zanu–PF is poised for yet another landslide victory.
Like the old adage goes, numbers don’t lie, and the numbers are well in favour of the ruling party.
The crisis-hit opposition on the other hand continues crumble and just yesterday former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru changed the name of her party from Zimbabwe People First to the National People’s Party following a fallout with some founding members of ZimPF.
Just like the MDCs splintered into many factions since 2005, the Dr Mujuru-led party is fast catching on the trend and also the highway to political oblivion just like the rest of the opposition parties.
Back to last Saturday, when things started happening with the ruling Zanu-PF having ignited the carnival atmosphere in Matobo, the opposition and its like minded friends withdrew into their respective shells to become the spectators they have always been and the spectators they will always be.