FEBRUARY 21 has finally been declared a national holiday in honour of President Robert Mugabe’s birthday following decades of lobbying by Zanu PF activists.
BY VANESSA GONYE
Speaking to journalists in Harare yesterday, Home Affairs minister and Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo said calls for the declaration spanned back to the 1980s when former Cabinet minister Webster Shamu was still the ruling party’s deputy secretary for youth affairs.
He scoffed at reports that government acted following threats by Zanu PF youth leader Kudzai Chipanga during Mugabe’s recent youth interface rally in Chinhoyi that officials who failed to declare the day a national holiday risked being kicked out.
“I am simply informing you what was proposed 22 years ago. I respond to what people propose. For the past many years, nothing was done. I am simply doing what I am supposed to do,” Chombo said.
“What I am telling you today was a unanimous decision by Cabinet and the politburo after a series of calls to declare a holiday in honour of President Mugabe.”
Youth and Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao commended Shamu and his team, who formed the 21st February Movement, which subsequently gave birth to the Robert Mugabe Day.
“While indeed February 21 is President Mugabe’s birthday, the 21st February Movement celebrations are in recognition of the values and principles that His Excellency has stood for over the years,” Zhuwao said.
“From my ministry’s perspective, our efforts will be guided by the need to place our youths at the centre of economic activities in the country.”