POLICE in Mashonaland East province have reportedly been forced to contribute US$2 each towards the US$1 million birthday celebrations for President Robert Mugabe later this month.
Sources told The Standard that the money was collected at each police station and later forwarded to the provincial fundraising committee.
Zanu PF aims to raise between US$700 000 and US$1 million for the bash, which will be held on February 23 at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera.
Mashonaland East province stretches from Chivhu, Marondera, Murehwa to Nyamapanda border post.
The ruling party Zanu PF has gone all out on the ambitious fundraising for Mugabe, who turns 90 on February 21.
So far the party, which is struggling to raise the required amount, has held many events which include dinners and galas to raise funds for the bash.
Police spokesperson for Mashonaland East province, Assistant Inspector Tendai Mwanza however denied that members of the police had been forced to contribute towards Mugabe birthday celebrations.
"There is no such thing here. None of the members have been asked to make contributions. We are not part of the fundraising. There are specific groups for that," he said. "Why don't you come down and check for yourself if such a thing is happening here. You have been wrongly misinformed."
Meanwhile members of the public last week reacted angrily to news that Mugabe planned a US$1 million bash at a time most people are wallowing in poverty.
Comments on various social media including Facebook portrayed anger and disbelief as many people felt that the amount was not justified considering that there were other pertinent issues that required financing.
One Nona said: "Why not fund- raise money for the millions of children who couldn't afford to pay school fees?"
"If Mugabe was a real leader, one who really cared for his people, he would have stopped this waste long ago. He would have channelled all the donations and extortions to benefit disadvantaged children like orphans, the disabled and other national issues," said one Bingo Wajakata.
Michael Adams had this to say: "They want to raise US$1 million for a birthday bash, really? Zanu PF failed to raise money to save people from being infected with cholera and as a result many people died."
Zanu PF has in previous years forced villagers, new farmers and even companies to contribute towards Mugabe's birthday celebrations.
Addressing journalists recently, Zanu PF secretary for youth affairs, Absalom Sikhosana said the party's fundraising programme was receiving tremendous support.