Source: 21 Feb to be declared a holiday – Sunday News Feb 19, 2017
Vusumuzi Dube, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government is now working on modalities to declare 21 February a national holiday after acceding to calls by the ruling Zanu-PF Youth League to declare the day a holiday in honour of President Mugabe’s contribution to the youth empowerment, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Speaking at a meeting to access preparations for the hosting of the 21st February Movement Celebrations in Matobo District yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said consultations were at an advanced stage and his ministry was finalising logistics to declare the day a national holiday.
The annual celebrations are meant to celebrate President Mugabe’s birthday and recognise his contributions to youth empowerment.
This year, the event to celebrate President Mugabe’s 93rd birthday, will be held at the Rhodes Estate Preparatory School (Reps) in Matobo District, about 30km from Bulawayo.
Dr Chombo said while the day would not be necessarily named after President Mugabe they would consider other possibilities inclusive of the one suggested by the Youth League of Youth Day.
“I can’t really give a time when the day will be officially declared a national holiday but this will happen shortly. However, the modalities and consultations are already at an advanced stage and once all the formalities are done as is required by the Government and the Constitution, we will let the public know.
“As the Government we are surely committed to this and have listened to our youths who have continuously called for this day to be declared a public holiday. While we won’t necessarily name it after President Mugabe, we will consider a name that is related to the youths,” said Dr Chombo who is also the ruling party’s Secretary for Administration.
Meanwhile, Dr Chombo expressed satisfaction on the progress done so far in preparation for the celebrations, which will be held on Saturday.
Another tour to monitor final progress will be held on Wednesday.
“I am quite happy with the work done so far, the Youth League has worked well with the party’s Matabeleland South leaders, which is really impressive. If we continue working like we are doing I am confident that this will be a resounding celebration.
“When you look at the choice of the venue a lot of noise was being made with some even coming to my office asking that we change it but as we all see today, this is an apt venue. The road to the site is perfect, it’s not very far from Bulawayo hence very accessible, I am honestly impressed,” said Dr Chombo.
Dr Chombo said the organisers should now consider the issue of rains noting that the event should go on whether it rains or not.
He said there was a need for the pitching of bigger tents which will accommodate delegates and the creation of wooden floors so that mud does not become a hindrance.
Dr Chombo said Matabeleland South should feel lucky to host the celebrations as they will have the opportunity to share in the President’s greatness and inspire youths in the country to emulate his qualities.
“Any other person will have a birthday where they just invite a few family members and friends but when you look at President Mugabe he is coming to the province because the youths saw that he has many qualities that need to be emulated.
“These qualities include that of being hardworking, studious, compassionate, he is a gentleman, kind, even kind to his enemies like (Dr Joice) Mujuru and (Morgan) Tsvangirai, when he sees them suffering he can easily help them,” said Dr Chombo.
Speaking at the same function, Zanu-PF Secretary for the Youth Affairs Cde Kudzai Chipanga also noted that all was in place for the Saturday celebrations and the Youth League was ready to host President Mugabe and several delegates who will travel to the province for the event.
“The province has done its best and this is impressive, I am hoping that when we come back on Wednesday all the tents will be pitched up and we will be looking at just a few minor touch ups but honestly everything is now in place,” said Cde Chipanga.
This year’s celebrations will be held under the theme “Honouring our icon, unlocking value in youth.”