Security 'tightens' ahead of Mugabe's birthday bash
26 February 2016, 19:26
Masvingo - Zimbabwean anti-riot police have beefed up security ahead of President Robert Mugabe's birthday celebration on Saturday in the drought stricken Masvingo province.
According to NewsDay, security forces were on high alert to avert disruptions by rival Zanu-PF factions and also threats of demonstrations by opposition parties.
Mugabe turned 92 on February 21, but his birthday bash,organised by the February 21 movement, is expected to be held on Saturday in an open space near the Great Zimbabwe Monuments.
The February 21 movement was established in 1986 to encourage Zimbabweans, the youths in particular, to emulate Mugabe's revolutionary ideas, charismatic leadership and selfless policies.
The security upgrades in the host province came after a group of youths belonging to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai caught the police 'off balance' when they staged a protest against the birthday celebrations on Tuesday in the capital Harare.
The MDC youths reportedly vowed to stage another protest in the Masvingo province on Friday.
An unidentified source was quoted as saying that the police were gearing up to unleash "deadly force" if any disruption occurred.
"There is going to be blood on the floor if the demonstrators go ahead because they will be ruthlessly crushed. For now, the focus is on Masvingo and the security forces have flooded in the city to contain the planned demonstrations," the unnamed source was quoted as saying.
Reports indicated that all was set for Mugabe's $800 000 birthday bash, with the organisers claiming that they had collected 53 beasts for the party, with the hope of reaching a target of 60 by Friday.
A total of 50 000 guests were expected to grace the occasion.