BY RICHARD CHIDZA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has no plans to meet his predecessor, former President Robert Mugabe, even on the occasion of the latter’s 95th birthday today, NewsDay has learnt.
Mugabe turns 95 today and Information ministry secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana yesterday said there were no plans to give the former Zanu PF leader a treat.
“Nothing specific as far as I know. I will inquire with the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Misheck Sibanda).
“But I think it’s likely to be a private affair as it was last year,” Mangwana said.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba also said he was not aware of any planned engagement between his principal and the former President.
“I am not aware of anything,” was all Charamba said.
Mugabe was forced out of power after a coup in November 2017 and was succeeded by Mnangagwa, who he had sacked two weeks earlier. Towards the end of his reign, the former guerrilla leader’s birthday was declared a national holiday at the behest of the Zanu PF youth league as his lieutenants sought to curry favour with Mugabe amid a vicious internal power struggle.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo was not too enthusiastic about the holiday.
“It’s a Youth Day. I don’t know if anything has been planned. Ask the (Zanu PF) youth league,” Khaya Moyo said.
Zanu PF secretary for youth affairs Pupurai Togarepi said: “We have made a request to meet him, but we are yet to receive a response. Our plan is for a small indoor function at which selected youths will get entrepreneurial advice from different resource persons who we will invite.”
Togarepi could not be drawn into commenting on whether Mugabe had been invited to the event, but insisted that Zanu PF will cherish its former leader’s contributions to the “revolution”.
“Of course, we will remember him for the work he did in leading the country, as well as the revolution. That is why we have Youth Day falling on his birthday. We still hope we will be able to meet him,” Togarepi told NewsDay.