By Portia Sigauke
On the 21st of February the nation will once again celebrate the birth of the revolutionary icon, turning a big 93years.
Preparations for this year celebrations have started in earnest and Matabeleland South province will host the 31st edition of the 21st February Movement with Rhodes Estate Preparatory School in Matobo as the venue for this year’s celebrations.
President Robert Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
The 21st February Movement was launched in honour of President Robert Mugabe and has a vision to mould Zimbabwean youths to emulate his visionary leadership and nationalist values.
The celebrations are expected to attract more than 100 000 guests.
A cross section of Zimbabwean youths who spoke to this writer congratulated President Robert Mugabe wishing him many more years of great leadership which has inspired the whole African Continent.
“I would want to congratulate our President for the great leadership which has inspired any young person who has focus, who would want to see our country prosper and through his great leadership God has seen it fit to bless him with this lengthy life full of wisdom”.
“Nobody can dispute that we have a great leader who is well know world wide as a respectable icon earning various posts across the African continent,” said Evancy Ncube, a political science student at the University of Zimbabwe.
The youths hailed President Mugabe for according them equal access to education as the nation boast as the most literate in the continent.
“Our President leads by example he is an educationist par excellence who has seven degrees to his nation and he was not selfish about it as he passed the button to us the younger generation. We might complain about poverty and lack of employment opportunity but through education we are well empowered and l what to thank home for that”.
“Through education we are well known are we are the most sought after graduates if we go to other countries because we are educated thus one thing that no one can take away from us and through that achievement l say viva Gushungo viva,” said Nyasha Mukapiko.
One beneficiary of the Presidential Scholarship had nothing but kind words for the great Statesman.
“I want to pay tribute to his excellence for according me the opportunity to study at the University through the Presidential Scholarship. I am one of the beneficiaries today l stand tall and shine amongst other young people because of his kindness. Happy birthday President and long live,” said Blessing Kunonga.
Mugabe Day proposal overdue
Last year, the ZANU PF youth league proposed to have a day set aside to celebrate and reflect on the contribution, sacrifices that our astute leader president Robert Mugabe made from pre-colonial independence to post independence.
Declaring February 21 a Mugabe day could be the least that Zimbabwe can do to show our appreciation for the works that President Mugabe has done for our country, regional and beyond.
As young people we feel that having a Robert Mugabe day would be a better way to celebrate his leadership that he has depicted since 1980.
The contributions that President Robert Mugabe has made towards the liberation of this country are incomparable.
He has achieved so much politically, economically and socially than any other African leader on the continent.
Although he is not the sole figure that contributed to the liberation of this country, certainly, President Mugabe is the only survivor from the crop of the chief architects of the liberation struggle that ushered in independence in 1980.
He spent 11 precious years of his life in the colonialist’s jail. It takes a real patriot and revolutionary to leave the comfort of decent and gainful employment in the diaspora and join the rugged terrain of the liberation struggle.
President Mugabe has been hitherto introducing policies that seek the economic empowerment of the ordinary citizens of this country. Today, almost 300 000 households are proud owners of farms, thanks to the historic land reform revolution led by President Mugabe.
As the born free youths we believe that it is befitting to honour the person who immensely contributed to the liberation of this country.
In proposing a Mugabe Day, is just an emulation of other countries who have a day set aside to celebrate their president’s which is befitting for a leader like President Mugabe.
Across Limpopo River there is a Nelson Mandela International Day held annually on July 18 meant to celebrate their former and late liberation hero president Nelson Mandela.
This is how South Africans have chosen to pay homage to their liberation superman. Thus, Zimbabweans can also come up with their own way of honouring their liberation idol.
Empowerment projects rolled so far
Presidential Computerisation Programme
When President Robert Mugabe launched the Presidential Computerisation Programme about eight years ago that initially targeted rural secondary schools, critics labelled the project a campaign gimmick aimed at coaxing the youths and parents alike to vote for his party in the 2005 parliamentary polls.
Originally, 10 secondary schools in the country’s 10 provinces were identified and given state-of-the-art computers by President Mugabe as he sought to roll-out information communication technology to the under-funded public schools, including at the country’s remotest areas.
This development led to the launch of the Presidential E-learning Programme, which is also known as the National E-learning Programme, bringing on board e-learning software solutions to complement the Presidential Schools Computerisation Programme.
In 2016 President Robert Mugabe availed 1 000 hectares of land for residential stands in Harare as part of President Mugabe’s response to requests made by the youths during the One-Million-Man March held in May. Thousands of youths from Harare, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West are expected to benefit from the stands.
Government’s land reform was a key element in empowering the people of Zimbabwe, particularly the youth.
Through the land reform programme government implemented a comprehensive programme for promoting and empowering the youth through availing loan capital to finance youth projects and accelerate youth-led employment creation enterprises.
Youth participation and empowerment is key to the development of the country. You and I need to take part and make Zimbabwe a better country again!