NOW that the push by the Zanu PF youth wing has yielded results after government declared President Robert Mugabe’s February 21 date of birth a national holiday, multitudes of them may be asking themselves the question, then what?
When Home Affairs minister and Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo made the announcement on Friday, Zimbabweans may not have wondered because the country has entered a season of madness.
Madness because every top government appointee now realises that one has to appease Mugabe and his family to remain in the gravy train, while the rest of the population continues to wallow in abject poverty. To be precise, every minister wants to be politically correct.
Indeed, the idea of a youth day is not alien to Zimbabwe, given that each year, we celebrate the Day of the African Child and International Youth Day.
But what this day must accomplish is what is missing in the Zanu PF-run regime’s agenda.
It is our contention that the national youth day should never be owned by any political outfit like what Zanu PF has done with Independence Day, Heroes Day and others.
We have no doubt that Mugabe has run his marathon, but certainly, there is no need for the man to be immortalised as if he is the country’s sole saviour.
If anything, the youths have suffered the most under Mugabe’s Zanu PF regime, which uses them as merchants of violence against the opposition for his selfish means.
Where some countries have come up with youth days, indeed they have collectively been celebrated. It is, therefore, important for government to ensure the youth day has a defining goal — that of creating a better world, driven by peace and the understanding of others.
The day should encourage young people to take charge of their lives and use opportunities available to them. The concept should also create opportunities for young people to learn, gain vital skills and to have the confidence necessary to become productive and successful adults.
The youths should be encouraged to desist from being used as “dogs of war” in the Zanu PF politics, where they are forced to engage in violence on behalf of party bigwigs.
But again, we believe that for the youth day to gain momentum, the economy must start improving. The youth day must be celebrated by all youths regardless of which political formations they belong.
Given the current state of the economy, we have no doubt that youths will never really realise the importance of their day, except after being used by the Zanu PF machinery.
The timing of the declaration of the day also raises suspicion that Zanu PF would want to take advantage of the country’s youths by unleashing them on the countryside to coerce people to vote for the ruling party on the promise that they will be rewarded handsomely afterwards.
This is what must be discouraged by right-thinking Zimbabweans. A national youth day is for all Zimbabwean youths, and it should benefit all of them.