COMMENT: Happy birthday President Mnangagwa!
On August 23, the country went to the polls to elect their president, legislators and councillors.
President Mnangagwa led his party, Zanu-PF, into that election. He won convincingly, after garnering 53 percent of the valid vote. Apart from retaining the presidency, the revolutionary party also won 136 of the directly-elected seats in parliament.
With the proportional representation seats allocated, the party controls 176 constituencies in the Lower House. It is the clear favourite to win the Gutu West seat that remains vacant after one of the nominated candidates passed on before polling day.
In the Senate, which is constituted through proportional representation as well, Zanu-PF has 33 members.
It was a crushing success by the revolutionary party, a cause to celebrate given the attempt by the US and Europe to get their puppet elected. That victory was thus, a very early, yet timely birthday present for the President.
He turns 81 today, 11 days after he was inaugurated for his second successive five-year mandate and two days after he swore in his new Cabinet. He must he delighted to celebrate his birthday in this context, in this victorious context, at this time as he begins a fresh challenge leading this great country.
His party must be happy as well to join their leader in marking his 81st today, one made much happier and more special given his electoral conquest just a few days ago.
Indeed, 81 is a milestone for him which he, as usual, will mark with his family, close friends and relatives as well as his core staff in Government.
The President has served his country all his life. He started his political activism as a teenager in the early 1960s, skipped the country to join the liberation struggle as a young man and was jailed for a prolonged period for his political activism.
He was among the senior members of the military and political sides of the struggle. He served in the first post-Independence Cabinet and was in charge of a number of portfolios since then – defence, state security, rural housing and social amenities, justice, legal and parliamentary affairs, Speaker of Parliament, Vice-President until he assumed the top office in November 2017.
He won his first presidential election a year later, served his people, and made it two out of two on August 23. His has truly been a life of national service. This is a lifetime of national service which is worth celebrating indeed.
Yet, this moment also means looking ahead to yet another year of national service. As mentioned, it comes in the week he constituted a new Government, thus it means looking ahead to the next five years too.
This, therefore, is a happy birthday for the President, doubly happy for him as it comes after he and his party scored a resounding electoral victory, not just over the local opposition figures that appeared on the ballot paper, but also the forces that push them.