The big bash is on today. The ancient city of Masvingo today hosts President Mugabe’s 92nd birthday bash under the banner of the 21st February Movement Youth Day.
We expect it to be a mega event where thousands of people from all walks of life converge to celebrate the life of Zimbabwe’s iconic leader, statesman and visionary.
It is a befitting tribute.
The nation is blessed to have a leader in President Mugabe whose captaincy of the country has seen Zimbabwe register numerous achievements on the political, social, cultural and economic fronts.
He has also risen to become one of the foremost African statesmen of our time. As we celebrate this great man, it is incumbent upon the youth, especially, to derive lessons from and emulate President Mugabe’s life.
Here is a man who has dedicated most of his life to fighting for his country and sacrificed everything for the cause of his people.
He left the relative comfort of being an expatriate teacher in Ghana and returned to fight white colonialists.
He was jailed for 11 years as punishment for challenging the racist colonial system.
He went to Mozambique to lead the liberation struggle culminating in the country’s Independence in 1980.
His leadership, beginning with the landmark pronouncement of a policy of reconciliation in 1980, has been one of tolerance and the pursuit of unity and development.
It has been followed by other countries in the region, instead of retribution against former oppressors.
He has remained a humble, consistent leader, standing by his principles against attacks by detractors opposed to his black empowerment policies, especially the trailblazing land reform programme which has benefited thousands of households.
As the youth eat, drink and make merry today in the historic city of Masvingo, they should not forget that they are tomorrow’s leaders and that in President Mugabe they have a living role model in self-sacrifice and patriotism.
The country needs more people like him to face the challenges that come with global powers prowling the world in search of resources to feed their own people and fuel their economies.
It is a real challenge: can the current youth typified by the leadership of the party’s youth wing carry Gushungo’s torch?
We are alluding here to a crop of corrupt, avaricious, spendthrift and directionless youth who have not distinguished themselves in anything positive.
We now have youth who aspire for fame by attacking the elders who sacrificed for the freedom of this country, youth who don’t have the patience to await their turn to lead.
President Mugabe has time and again urged the youth to stay away from drugs and other intoxicating substances which make them lose their heads.
The remedy would ordinarily have been the school of ideology that has long been on the cards for a long time but has not materialised yet.
It is such a pity that there has been a lot of dithering about such an important institution.
It is an institution that should have been the hatchery of future leaders, with the youth properly groomed by war time commissars on the ideology and ethos of the revolutionary party.
In the absence of such, most youth have been left to drift aimless, open to manipulation by whoever carries short-term inducements.
They have played themselves into the hands of dubious characters whose motives are suspect.
It is thus incumbent upon the youth to look up to President Mugabe for inspiration and life lessons.
President Mugabe has never missed an opportunity to school us on morality, uprightness and that Zimbabwe must come first in everything we do.
It is the only country we can call home.
We should all be ready to lay down our lives in defence of Zimbabwe.
Most Zimbabweans have been calling for a Robert Mugabe Day as a national holiday. His birthday was seen as the most appropriate occasion.
But as we report elsewhere in this issue, the President has apparently rejected the cult status.
He says the day should be dedicated to the youth so they can reflect on their future and that of Zimbabwe.
The man we gather to celebrate today is an exemplary man indeed, a man worth emulating