Farirai Machivenyika, Harare Bureau
The 21st of February has been gazetted as Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day, effectively making former President Robert Mugabe’s birthday a public holiday.
The notice is contained in Statutory Instrument 143 published in the Government Gazette on Friday.
“His Excellency the President, in terms of Section 2(2) of the Public Holidays and Prohibition of Business Act, hereby make the following notice: (1) This notice may be cited as the Public Holidays and Prohibition of Business Notice, 2017,” reads the Statutory Instrument.
“(2) It is hereby declared that the 21st February of every year henceforth, shall be a public holiday to be known as the Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day.”
Calls for President Mugabe’s birthday to be made a national holiday were adopted by Government in August following intense lobbying by the Zanu-PF Youth League.
The day coincides with the 21st February Movement celebrations meant to commemorate the principles and ideals the former President Mugabe stood for.
The 21st February Movement was formed in 1986 by the Zanu-PF Youth League under the leadership of then Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs, Cde Webster Shamu.
Recently, the Youth League heightened efforts to make the former President’s birthday declared a national holiday as recognition of his efforts in empowering youths.
Speaking during his acceptance speech at his inauguration as the second Executive President of Zimbabwe on Friday last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa indicated that the former President needed to be accorded the respect and recognition he deserved as one of the founders and leaders of Zimbabwe.
“To me personally, he remains a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader,” he said. “We thus say thank you to him and trust that our history will grant him his proper place and accord him his deserved stature as one of the founders and leaders of our nation.”