FORMER Cabinet Minister Jonathan Moyo has wished President Emmerson Mnangagwa well on the occasion of his 79th birthday, but suggested that the Zanu-PF leader could actually be 83 years old.
Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana appeared to confirm the confusion over President Mnangagwa’s date of birth by suggesting that it was possible someone may not know with absolute certainty their year of birth.
Yesterday, Moyo, a self-exiled former Zanu-PF propagandist, said President Mnangagwa himself has on different accounts given three varied years of his birth – 1938, 1942 and 1946. Moyo noted that the date of birth, 15 September, remained constant in the President’s accounts.
“Over the years, Mnangagwa himself has used each one of the above as his date of birth, depending on the circumstance before him; only one of them is true; but that’s for another day. Happy Birthday Emmerson!” Moyo tweeted on Wednesday.
In a subsequent response this Thursday morning, Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana appeared to give currency to Moyo’s sentiments.
“One’s date of birth is a detail one will probably never know with certainty since all of us are just told by those who were there,” Mangwana said curtly.
Moyo is known to be a bitter critic of the President despite some untested belief that he is indirectly supporting Mnangagwa by keeping him topical.
Meanwhile, the President last night said he did not even feel like he had turned 79.
“I don’t feel any different at 79. Of course, we have walked a long journey and that makes you realise that one day you will have to rest,” he said while responding to a question by his deputy, VP Constantino Chiwenga, on how he felt at his age.
“The most important thing though is to love your country, your countrymen and women.”
He also attributed his health to traditional foods and living a “simple life”.
“At our home you won’t find cutlery at the table, we eat using our hands. My mother who gave birth to me is the one who taught my wife to stick to traditional cuisine.
“Traditional food is healthy and we learned that from my mother. Tiri vemufushwa nemukaka. When you hear that the President is into agriculture, it is because of our backgrounds,” he said.
In her welcome remarks, the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, who organised the birthday dinner and themed it the African way, said she and Mnangagwa had an amazing life together.
“Your Excellency, allow me to congratulate you (by) saying happy birthday to the man I fell in love with so many years ago. I shall love you more and more as the years pass by. Happy birthday my best friend. We have an amazing life together,” said the First Lady.
Apart from close family members, the birthday dinner was graced by Zanu PF party deputies — Chiwenga and Kenbo Mohadi, Cabinet ministers and service chiefs as well as men of the cloth who included ZCC leader Nehemiah Mutendi. □