Zimbabwean ruling Zanu-PF party’s youth league has reportedly said that it is planning to honour former president Robert Mugabe on his 94th birthday, saying that he remains the country’s icon.
Mugabe was forced out of power in November after ruling the southern African country for 37 years.
The veteran politician was set to turn 94 on February 21.
According to NewsDay, the leader of the party’s youth league, Pupurai Togarepi said that Zanu-PF would continue top honour the deposed leader.
“Since February 21 has been declared a national holiday, we are taking advantage of that day to honour Mugabe. As youths, we will embark on charitable work as well as spend some time with the former President. We want to have a cake and share with him. This, for us, will be a small event unlike previous ones,” he said.
Zimbabwe declared Mugabe’s birth a public holiday last year, nearly a week after the long-time ruler stepped down.
Corporate social responsibilities
“It is hereby declared that February 21 of every year henceforth shall be a public holiday to be known as the Robert Mugabe National Youth Day,” The Herald newspaper reported at the time, citing a government gazette.
The move followed intense lobbying by Zanu-PF party’s youth league and came weeks after the country’s biggest airport was renamed after the veteran politician.
A Daily News report said that this year’s Mugabe birthday celebrations would be without the pomp and fanfare that used to characterise them “as attention has shifted to much more pressing issues in Zimbabwe”.
The report quoted Togarepi as saying that the day on which the former president was born would be honoured by way of a clean-up campaign and other corporate social responsibilities.
A “happy birthday song” would be sung for him instead of the lavish celebrations that Zimbabweans had been accustomed to, the report said.