Government yesterday declared February 21 the Robert Mugabe National Youth Day in honour of the veteran Pan Africanist.
The declaration is a culmination of years of advocacy and petitioning made by founders of the 21st February Movement and consequently by the Zanu-PF Youth League.
Speaking to journalist yesterday, Zanu-PF secretary for Administration and Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said the day was in honour of President Mugabe’s principled and visionary leadership.
“This declaration comes as a culmination of years of advocacy and lobbying, initially made by the founders of the 21st February Movement, and subsequently by the National Youth League,” he said.
“The youth acknowledging the unparalleled, visionary, persistent and principled leadership of the President and First Secretary of the Party, His Excellency Cde R. G. Mugabe and honouring him for peace, tranquillity and harmony prevailing among the people of Zimbabwe; the Youth League has resolved every year from 2012 up to 2017, that 21 February be declared a National Public holiday,” said Minister Chombo.
Minister Chombo said the 21st February Movement was founded to teach the values and principles that inspired President Mugabe to make an enormous sacrifice during the liberation struggle.
“When we look to the history of this Movement, it is very apparent that in 1985, Cde Webster Shamu, then Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs, approached the late Amai Sally Mugabe with the idea of creating the 21st February Movement as a way of teaching young people the values and principles that inspired His Excellency the President to make huge sacrifices during the liberation struggle,” he said.
“In the past three Zanu-PF conferences, there has been a resolution, consistent resolution, asking Government to declare 21 February a public holiday.
“In recent years, the Youth Executive led by Cde Kudzai Chipanga, the Junior Parliament of Zimbabwe and other youth formations have continued to support and advocate for this notion,” said Minister Chombo.
Minister Chombo said President Mugabe is a model that the youths should emulate, hence the promulgation of his birthday as a public holiday.
“In declaring this day, we would like to highlight to our youths the values and principles so brilliantly displayed by President R. G. Mugabe, the Head of State and Government which have resulted in an exemplary life that our youths can emulate,” he said.
“To inspire the youths to emulate the values and principles stood for by President Mugabe in his struggle for the independence and development of the country as well as to recognise and celebrate the contributions made by young people throughout the history of the country,” he added.
Speaking at the same occasion, Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao welcomed the declaration saying, it was in recognition of the values and principles that His Excellency the President has stood for over the years.
“These values include self-sacrifice, patriotism, hard work, principled leadership, respect, dignity, compassion among others, values which are set as examples and a source of inspiration to the youths,” he said.
Minister Zhuwawo praised the immense contribution made by the President in the education sector to ensure that youths are empowered as well as developments made in the health sector.
“Going forward we will now ensure that youth activities for the National Youth Day are cascaded to young people in a manner that teaches the values and principles embodied in President Mugabe,” he added.
One of the first advocates of the 21st February Movement, Cde Webster Shamu said President Mugabe is an epitome patriotism and dedication to a national cause hence the day is important so that youth learn lessons from his exemplary leadership.