COMMENT: Youths must cherish this day and stay focused President Mnangagwa

A good number of youngsters in our country is getting lost.  They are drinking too much.  They are hooked on dangerous drugs which threaten not only their futures, but also their lives.  They are also hooked on bad stuff online, which threatens their sanity and breeds delinquency.
More broadly, the crisis among our youth is actually a threat to the country, its present and future.

These sobering possibilities have caught the attention of the Government which declared February 21 of every year National Youth Day.  On this day, various activities are staged as part of an effort by the Government to build a well-rounded youth which has a sense of purpose.

The inspiration behind it all is the late former President, Cde Robert Mugabe who, if he had been alive, would have celebrated his 100th birthday today.  Like tens of thousands of others, he, in his youth, took up arms to liberate the country.  He became the country’s first Prime Minister at Independence in 1980 and Executive President seven years later.  He led the nation with distinction until 2017.

Among his closest lieutenants was President Mnangagwa.  To demonstrate how his administration values the role of his predecessor and other icons throughout Zimbabwe’s history, President Mnangagwa announced at his first inauguration in 2017 that February 21 would, henceforth, be National Youth Day.

This main celebration this year is at Mushagashe Vocational Training Centre in Masvingo today.  President Mnangagwa will be the guest of honour for the commemorations that are being held under the theme: “Positioning youth empowerment and development towards Vision 2030.”  There would be multiple other events such as musical galas and sporting activities elsewhere across the country.

This, indeed is an important day for us as it reminds us of the immense role that thousands of our elders played during their youth to develop the country.  They would not have done that if they were always smoking things.  They would not have achieved that if all they knew was beer, loose morals and other depraved interests.

They were sober enough to understand that their country was under colonial misrule.  Because of that understanding, they left the country, walking for hundreds of kilometres in thick, snake-infested forests, finding their way across the Zambezi River to join the liberation struggle in Zambia.  They underwent tough training, some doing that as 15- or 16-year-olds.  For about 15 years, they fought the enemy using Zambia and Mozambique as launchpads until Independence in 1980.

As 20- and 30-year-olds they assumed the levers of Government as ministers, senior civil servants, army chiefs and so on.

This must inspire youths of today to be more focussed in their lives; to appreciate the immense potential they have to bring about positive, enduring change to themselves, their families, their communities and their country.

Happy National Youth Day to all compatriots!

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