By Fungai Kwaramba
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s security personnel had to push 89 stubborn balloons up into the cloudy skies after they had initially refused to take off.
Making a grand entrance at around 1 pm, the Zanu PF leader received a standing ovation from the sweating crowd as he was greeted by 89 children who handed him 89 balloons which failed to take off on a scorching Saturday afternoon. It took the coaxing of his security personnel to send the balloons up into the sky.
Apart from the stubborn balloons, Mugabe celebrated his 89th birthday in typical fashion with pomp and funfair. As is always, he enjoyed the now traditional bootlicking from his loyalists seemingly oblivious of the accumulative violence in the country.
Mugabe donning a khaki suit, was treated to five cakes including one that resembled his troubled party’s headquarters, a mine and was entertained with music from Zimbabwe’s top musicians, Alick Macheso and Suluman Chimbetu.
Some brought sheep, goats, cattle and cash as gifts for Mugabe, adding to the 89 beasts that Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono gave the president for his birthday celebrations.
Mugabe’s birthday celebrations attracted everyone from diplomats to the tom and dicks bussed from across the country to converge in Bindura to witness his remarkable feat.
Obert Mpofu, the minister of Mines and Mineral Development, went down on his knees as he talked to Mugabe, the man he obediently calls “father”. As a show of respect, Zanu PF officials usually kneel when they talk to Mugabe.
At least 15 000 made it to Chipadze Stadium and endured more than five hours patiently waiting for the “birthday boy” to join them with rumbling stomachs while their eyes feasted on the larger than life cakes.
Mugabe, who claims to travel with a Roman Catholic rosary wherever he goes, was born on February 21, 1924 in Kutama and was raised by his mother Bona. At a church service earlier in the day he had told top Zanu PF and senior government officials that he was abandoned by his father when he was only 21.
Zanu PF youths, adding the 8 and 9 in 89 say the party’s leader is only 17 while the elderly in the party such as the bootlicking minister of Media and Information Webster Shamu say the former school teacher is a fountain of wisdom who should live many more years.
Peter Mpofu a football juggler who mesmerised Mugabe with his ball juggling artistry was the toast of the day and for his efforts Mugabe handed him $200 straight from his designer suit inner pocket.
Dismissing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC’s claims that Zanu PF officials are responsible for the death of Christpower Maisiri; Mugabe said his government partners are now seeing phantoms everywhere and linking them to his party.
“The disease that we do not want is that some people are now saying if anyone dies, he has been killed by Zanu PF.
“Vavakugara vakateya nzeve kuti ndekupi kwafiwa (They now look ahead to deaths) and then say its Zanu PF,” said Mugabe, to a rapturous applause from his loyalists.President Robert Mugabe’s security personnel had to push the 89 stubborn balloons as they initially failed to take off. Daily News