AS IT HAPPENED: 21st February Movement celebrations Zimbabwean President Rorbet Mugabe (L) holds balloons next to his son Chatunga (R) on February 27, 2010 during celebrations to mark his 86th birthday in Bulawayo.

Updates by Vusumuzi Dube, Simiso Mlevu, Wilson Kakurira and Online Editor Stanford Chiwanga

15:10: We have come to the end of the live updates. Thank you for joining us. See you next time. Let’s go eat cake!

15:05: The vote of thanks now being given by Cde Mphehlabayo Malinga – he thanks the Matabeleland South province for organising this year’s celebrations and the President for his words of wisdom. He also thanks service providers for their contribution towards the success of the event.

He pays gratitude to the First Lady and to the Vice Presidents.

14:56: Members of the youth league national executive join the President  in cutting the third cake.

14:54: President Mugabe and First Family now cutting the cake. They are joined by the two Vice Presidents and their families in cutting the second cake.

14:50: President Mugabe and First Family being invited for the cake cutting ceremony by Cde Chipanga

14:47: President Mugabe has finished his address.


14:35: I listened to President Trump speaking saying America for Americans, even building a wall at the border with Mexico. Now you have a situation like that in America so surely for you to want to go to America to look for a job what is it that you get in America which is what you cannot get in Zimbabwe. I have not seen a single person who went to work for numerous years coming back home rich.

Bond notes are just a temporary thing and we want you to bear with us because we had to adopt them for a shorter period.

Let me end by thanking the youth from the depth of my heart for organising this event.

14:30: If Zanu-PF says I should go I will sit down. For your own information I never canvassed for any position I rose up to my position. This is not about canvassing or buying beer. Let the people judge for themselves; no imposition, we don’t want imposition at all. People have said that I should choose a successor, but that is what is called imposition. I don’t want and will never impose. This is the job of Congress to choose. Those who want will then come up and the party will elect as the constitution states. We can have an extra-ordinary congress if the President retires, but we must be together.

14:21: Let me refer now to the unending problem of division within the party. We want a party that is well united. Let’s have the unity that binds us at heart and also intellectually. True true unity. The party has a program that is based on a party constitution which provides how people can get elected from one position to the other. Then why do you want to try to circumvent the constitution? Whatever position you seek must be a position you get upon a proper election. People whether they are to before chairpersons or whatever positions have to be chosen by the people of the particular organic framework. People who are busy forming their own groupings saying vaMugabe must go; I ask myself where should I go?

14:17: We thank the programmes that were done by the youth where they gave themselves to clean up the cities which is very commendable gesture. However as a nation lets be people who ensure that where ever it has been cleaned we maintain that. Tell yourselves that you are not litter bugs who ho around throwing away litter. In other towns you are even penalised when you throw away even a piece of paper

14:15: I am glad that this year God has blessed us with so much rain, dams are full others are even spilling.

14:10: We lost of our young men and women to HIV/AIDS but mainly our young men when we did not know what to do. However we now have ARVs but still the viruses remain because a cure has not been found. But we thank the Health Ministry in terms of what they have done in educating our youths. Although we have recorded a drop in HIV prevalence but more still needs to be done.

14:06: There must be national youth service, I don’t know why we have slowed on this one. We certainly must start the national youth service program.

14:03: The President says the youth learn from the leadership so they know how lead for tomorrow when they takeover leadership.

“That is why the party and the government value the youth, they the vanguard of society. In our part we will continue working with the Youth Minister in harnessing the potential of the youth and we need youth with certain potential.”

13:59: Let me say that as the party and government we recognise that the youth are an important to us as a nation; they carry with them quite a number of attributes, ideas and skills.

13:55: President commends the owners of REPS for changing the name of the school to Matopo Junior School.

13:50: “But I am not alone in this mission I have others who have been tasked with a similar mission of leadership. The youth league as members of the party are part of the mission who help in the fulfillment of the mission.  We have reckoned along the way that we need the youth. The women also have energies of their own which men don’t have. We then combine th3 efforts and become organic, a body that is unified to perform the objectives that have to do with the will of the people. It was only yesterday that the youth l3ague decided to organise the One Million March and people said they will fail but the youths insisted that they can do it, which l3d us to say do it and they did it much to the surprise or many. Cde Chipanga the dynamism that is in you and others must not get extinguished. When you say happy birthday to me I say it’s a happy birthday to all of us.”

13:48: “It’s one mission we have to accomplish which has to do with the needs and minds of our people and we have reckoned along the way that we need the youth because they have greater vigour than all of us in the party. The women, they also have energies of their own which men don’t have and we combine therefore then we become organic and become a body that is determined using its youth; using its women to achieve the objectives that have to do with the welfare of our people that is what Zanu-PF is about. I take this opportunity to thank the Youth League on this occasion for its energy,”

12:42: “Handisi ndoga ndine vamwe, ndiri mutungamiri wavo vamwe ivowo vose nezvido zvavo, kutambudzika kwavo vanondipa mutoro iwowo kuti ndivabatire….neavowo vandakapiwha ka..tingati tine Central Committee tingati tine Politburo hongu ndokuumbwa kwataikwa ikoko, njere chichibva kumusoro.”

12:38: “Each one of you has a mission to fulfill in this world, you have a mandate. This mandate might run shorter times others run a longer time. You must discover your own mandate. I am one amongst many and one who has been made by the many their leader. I thank the Lord and I say i accept my mission on this earth.” – President Mugabe

13;36: President Mugabe says he misses his siblings adding that he has only one sister left.

“I miss them. I miss them so much and sometimes I ask myself why I have remained to stay this long?”

He says he is comforted by that we all have missions in our lives. Those mandates and missions must be allowed to rein as long as one lives.

13:33: He starts by making salutations and recognises the presence of senior government and party officials as well as delegates from all the provinces. He expresses profound gratitude to party youths for organising the celebrations before welcoming all here. He says the celebrations are part of another chapter in his life.

“It doesn’t how healthy you feel. But the decision to continue to live and enjoy the life is God’s.  So on this occasion, we should thank the almighty God. My family and I, we all thank the almighty God that I have been able to live from 92 last year to 93 this year and most importantly from childhood to 93 today, which is a long long journey.”

13:27: President Mugabe takes to the podium…

13:20: Cde Chipanga  called upon to introduce President Mugabe

13:16: Vice President Mnangagwa arriving…

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13:15: Vice President Mphoko arriving at the 21st February Movement celebrations venue early today…

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13:07: Of her husband, Amai Mugabe says he is a widely read and highly disciplined man and says Zimbabwe is lucky to have a leader like him.

“My family is deeply humbled by this generous expression of great love. We are blessed people to have a selfless leader as a nation. President commitment to black empowerment saw him spearheading the redistribution of land. His stance on land invited sanctions on Zimbabwe. The President is a moving encyclopaedia who is widely read very amazing in the way he grasps issues. President Mugabe is a very intelligent individual and as a nation we are very honoured to have him as a leader. I urge you not tire on us; we love and continue you to adore you.”

In conclusion, she wishes her “dearest husband and father of children a happy birthday.”

The First Lady breaks out in song and everyone assists her in singing “Happy Birthday” to President Mugabe.

12:58: Amai Mugabe describes Pres Mugabe as a loving husband and also a caring leader. The First Lady thanks the almighty for giving Pres Mugabe long life.

“The 21st February movement celebrations have become a very important part of our calendar.”

12:55: Amai Mugabe speaks…

Amai Mugabe is making salutations and recognises the presence of Vice Presidents among other government officials. She expresses gratitude to the organisers of the function for granting her time to speak. She says these are the celebrations for a man who is dear to her heart.

12:53: Cde Chipanga now introducing the First Lady and Secretary for Women’s Affairs, Dr Grace Mugabe…

12:45: “We reiterate the need to expedite the declaration of 21 February as a public holiday known as National youth day. We call on whichever Ministry that is responsible for this to declare this holiday by next year. Actually  we are saying whatever  Minister who is responsible for this if he or she fails to ensure that this is a public holiday  next  year should not bother coming to the 21st February movement  celebrations.” – Cde Chipanga

12:38: Cde Chipanga appeals to President Mugabe to intervene and held reduce the time it takes to open a business. It can take up to three months.

Cde Chipanga calls for appointment of non political ministers to head economic ministries to ensure full attention to economic issues. He says some ministers are appointed today and tomorrow they are already planning on how to remove President Mugabe.

He says the youth are also grateful for the philanthropic work which the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe is doing to help in the elevation of women and the championing of children’s rights.

“Let me warn those who use the youths to try and forward their selfish agendas that they will be exposed as we do not belong to anyone. The youth belong to President Mugabe and Amai Dr Mugabe.”

12:35: Cde Chipanga is not done speaking…

“The youth will ensure the victory of Zanu-PF in the morning 2018 general elections by forwarding our youth agenda of endorsing you as our Life President. We are tired of holding elective congresses because party elections are different from general elections. We want congress to be just a formality where we deal with issues of Vice Presidents and politburo members etc but your candidacy should not be touched as you are our Life President. We appeal for non-political ministers to lead key economical Ministries as these have the duty of turning around the economy. Some of these Ministers which are appointed are corrupt and waste most of the time busy plotting against  you Cde President. Thank you Mr President for the land you have given to the youth.”

12:30: Secretary for the youth Cde Kudzanai Chipanga taking to the podium to give his address:

If the party is destroyed it is destroyed by the so-called chefs. These are the very people who when coming for party business leave their families behind instead of learning from our revolutionary President who always comes with the First Family.

He adds that 2017 marks 31 years since the Youth League started holding 21st February Movement celebrations.

12:10: Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Abednico Ncube takes to the podium:

“This choice of venue is a blessing even the rains have opened up to signify this blessing. This is the very place which our forefathers came to pray to gods for the rains. I pay gratitude to the people of Matabeleland south who worked together to make this event a success. People showed unity of purpose which should be commended.”

12:05: Zanu-PF Matabeleland South provincial chairperson Cde Choene now giving welcome remarks:

“As a province we are honoured to host the world’s revolutionary icon as he celebrates his birthday. We promise you Mr President that come 2018 we will retain the trophy and take all the sits as we did in 2013. On behalf of Mat South province I say Happy Birthday Gushungo, Happy Birthday our icon!”

12:00: Get down, get up, get down – dance – it’s the President’s birthday!

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11:52: The venue for the celebrations was formerly called Rhodes Preparatory Primary School but in honour of Pres Mugabe, school management has changed the name to do away with colonial legacy it bears. The school is now called Matopos Junior School.

President Mugabe

11:45: Cde Mphehlabayo Malinga now introducing foreign delegates present to witness the celebrations – representatives of revolutionary parties from the region giving solidarity messages.

11:40: The place is packed with many delegates.

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11:35: Rhodes Preparatory School’s name has been changed to Matopos Junior School because the owners felt it was wrong for a school to have the name of our coloniser 36 years after independence – Cde Innocent Hamandishe

11:31: Do you recognise this trio?

ZRP Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri (L), ZDF Commander General Constantino Chiwenga and Zanu-PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere chat at Matopos Junior School.

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11;27: The celebrations organised by Zanu PF youth league has been attended by Government Ministers and senior government officials as well as service chiefs. VPs Mnangagwa and Mphoko also present at the celebrations.

11:25: The Police Band has led the singing of the National Anthem. We are off. President Mugabe has already arrived at the venue – The Matopo Research Centre in Matopo District, Matabeleland South Province


PRESIDENT Mugabe arrives in Bulawayo this morning for the 21st February Movement celebrations which roar to life at the Rhodes Estate Preparatory School (REPS) in Matobo District.

We will be giving you live updates of the proceedings here.

Thousands of delegates have already trooped into the city to commemorate the President’s 93rd birthday.

President Mugabe turned 93 on Tuesday.

The celebrations, which bring together people from all corners of Zimbabwe and other parts of the world, are set to bring life to the usually sleepy district of Matobo surrounded by the world famous picturesque rocky mountains.

By yesterday, Bulawayo and Matobo had become a hive of activity as delegates arrived enmasse to commemorate the revolutionary leader’s birthday.

This year’s celebrations run under the theme ‘Honouring Our Icon, unlocking value in youth.’

A cheerful mood engulfed Matopo Research Station as workers put final touches on infrastructure for the big day.

Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko toured the venue yesterday afternoon where Secretary of Youth Affair Cde Kudzanayi Chipanga and Secretary for Youth Affairs, Cde Ignatious Chombo gave him a progress report.

By the end of day yesterday, organising teams on the ground were putting final touches with service providers such as ambulances and mobile clinics already on standby.

Tents for all delegates had been pitched and the organising team assured the more than 200 000 expected guests that no one would be affected by the rains.

Mobile toilets had also been mounted at various points for easy access and workers were busy dealing with mud that had accumulated as the rains persistently fell during the day.

Several companies among them Alpha and Omega Dairies, TelOne and the Zimbabwe Energy Regulation Authority (ZERA) had also put up stands for a mini exhibition to run on the big day.

The 21sters had a busy day as they toured Matopo National Park before planting trees around the area as part of conserving nature.

The youngsters born on the same day with his Cde Mugabe capped their day with a dinner dubbed the Secretary’s dinner at a city hotel last night.

Cde Chipanga was the guest of honour.

In an interview last night, the youth leader urged people to come in their numbers to commemorate this day.

“Everything is now in place. The tents, accommodation and sound system have been set up. It’s all systems go. We are just waiting for tomorrow (today),” said Cde Chipanga.

“Our people from other provinces namely Manicaland, Midlands, Mashonaland East West, Mashonaland Central have already arrived. We are expecting thousands more.” He said delegates from surrounding provinces are expected to be seated by 7AM.

“We want to be cautious because the weather is unpredictable but we appreciate what God is giving us as Zanu PF because we need these rains.

“We are expecting to kick start the programme by 10AM. The President is our guest of honour and we expect that everything will go according to our plans,” said Cde Chipanga.

Cde Chipanga said the 21sters planted 100 trees in compensation of the five or so trees cut in preparation for the big day.

A bash has been lined up with the likes of Jeys Marabini, Sandra Ndebele, Clement Magwaza, Iyasa, Sulumani Chimbetu and Mathias Mhere expected to entertain thousands of delegates.

Joining them will be Derrick Majaivana, Khuliyo, Born Free Crew, Black Umfolosi, Ndux Junior, Sungura Masters, Guluva 7, Ramsy K and Nkwali and a host of other artistes from Matabeleland South province.


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