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Zanu PF youths push for Mugabe Day


THE Zanu PF Youth League is pushing government for the declaration of President Robert Mugabe’s date of birth as a national holiday in honour of the President, NewsDay has learnt.


Mugabe turns 91 next week on Saturday.

Party secretary for youth affairs in the Zanu PF politburo Pupurai Togarepi told the party’s newspaper, People’s Voice, that February 21 would be dedicated towards celebrating Mugabe’s political achievements since independence in 1980.

He said the proposed Robert Mugabe Day would be celebrated in the same manner South Africa commemorates Nelson Mandela Day.

“As (Zanu PF) Youth League, we are proposing that there must be ‘Robert Mugabe Day’ on our national calendar in recognition of the immense contributions he has made to Zimbabwe,” Togarepi said.
But the opposition MDC-T yesterday denounced the proposal, saying declaring a holiday in honour of Mugabe was tantamount to “personalisation and deification” of prominent political figures.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said there was no logic in the Zanu PF youths’ request.

“As the MDC, we are against personalisation and deification of our political heroes. There is absolutely no sound and logical reason why Zimbabwe should set aside a public holiday to commemorate the so-called Robert Mugabe Day,” Gutu said.

“We already have Heroes Day holiday on our calendar and its main purpose is to pay homage to the gallant sons and daughters of the soil who paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we gain our independence in April 1980. Robert Mugabe is one of the several nationalists who played a prominent role in our struggle for independence and, as such, there is absolutely no need to create a public holiday.”

Gutu added: “There are several other heroes like Herbert Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Tongogara, Alfred Nikita Mangena and several other national heroes of the same national standing if not higher than Mugabe. Does it mean, therefore, we should have a Herbert Chitepo Day, a Josiah Tongogara Day, Joshua Nkomo Day and so forth? Should that be the case, then every day in Zimbabwe will be a public holiday.”

However, political analyst Ernest Mudzengi described the proposal as sensible.

“Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with having such. Mugabe is a liberation war icon and that is a fact. I don’t think it’s wrong. However, what we don’t need is honouring him in a partisan manner for what he did. The liberation struggle was not for Zanu PF alone, but for Zimbabwe,” Mudzengi said.

“I appreciate his role in the liberation struggle. There have been mistakes he did along the way, but if the call is genuine and not driven along partisan politics, I don’t see anything wrong.”

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