VILLAGERS from around Victoria Falls have appealed to President Robert Mugabe not to accept the game meat purportedly donated by farmer Tendai Musasa to be consumed at his birthday bash.
This comes after conservationists and activists expressed outrage at the reports that Musasa had pledged to donate two elephants, two buffalos, two sables, five impalas and a lion worth a combined $120 000 towards the event that will be held at the resort town next week.
The villagers added their voices saying the ‘gift’ of game meat worth $120 000 is tantamount to destroying their livelihoods.
In an interview, villagers from Monde, Chidode and Jambezi areas said they were shocked to hear that Musasa was donating game meat towards Mugabe’s birthday gala.
Villagers said as game meat is part of their hunting annual quota they were supposed to have been consulted on the issue.
Most villagers did not want to be named as they fear that Musasa will use his influence against them. They said they were afraid of raising these issues formally because they may be chased away from their farms as they are beneficiaries of the chaotic land reform.
“If the President has the welfare of people at heart he must not accept this gift. Game meat is part of our diet here. How can Musasa rob the poor to feed the rich?”
Another villager said Mugabe has enough cattle to slaughter and feed his invited guests as he did at the ZANU PF youth and women assembly congress last year.
“Why should poor people like us feed Mugabe’s guests; honestly he has money and cattle to feed the whole of Victoria Falls during his celebrations, why us honestly?
“He showed the whole country that he can feed people when he donated food to starving youth and women at their congress”.
Other villagers said they were initially of the view that after the bash they would collect the left overs but as of now are no longer even interested in the event which will leave them poorer.
About 100 children who share the date of birth (21 February) with Mugabe will be in Victoria Falls on the 28th of February to celebrate the ageing leader’s 91st birthday.
Over one million dollars is expected to be used on the celebrations while millions of people are suffering.