Tafara Shumba Correspondent
ON the occasion of the 29th edition of the 21st February Movement celebrations in Victoria Falls, the youths floated a proposal to declare President Mugabe’s birthday a national holiday.
Some people, misguided though, thought it was an unconventional proposal.
I beg to differ on this one. There is absolutely no problem for the children of Zimbabwe to honour their liberation icon by means of a mere recognition of his birthday.
The contributions that this African statesman selflessly made towards the liberation of this country are incomparable.
A national holiday to celebrate his life is only a small way that Zimbabweans can express their veneration.
Robert Mugabe national holiday is, thus, long overdue.
This day must be set aside to esteem the President, as he is undisputedly the most exceptional figure in the history of the country.
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. He had a decent job that could have easily tempted him to watch the struggle from a distance.
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 did just that when many failed to part with such comfort.
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.
Those who were old and clever enough during the Smith regime can understand the contribution President Mugabe made.
Unfortunately, those who must have a better understanding are at the forefront of trivialising the proposal.
Instead, the born free youths have shown maturity and better understanding than their misguided elders. They are the ones who saw it befitting to honour the person who immensely contributed to the liberation of this country.
The youths are conscious of these huge contributions and the remarks by their boss, Cde Pupurai Togarepi on the recent 21st February Movement celebrations testify to this consciousness.
Cde Togarepi, who is the Zanu-PF National Secretary for Youths Affairs, spoke about the rare leadership qualities of the revolutionary icon.
He spoke about President Mugabe’s people-oriented policies that include the land reform programme, education for all, gender equality, the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme and the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.
In proposing a Mugabe Day, the youths are not seeking to invent a wheel. Other presidents have been honoured in this way.
There is a Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18 of every year in South Africa.
On this day, people are encouraged to spare 67 minutes to do good things to the underprivileged members of society.
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.
Those who studied history may recall that it was Senator Stephen Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas, who first proposed a holiday to honour the birthday of the American’s first president, George Washington in 1879. Ironically, Washington was also born in the month of February. The Americans celebrated Washington’s Day on his birthday on February 22.
President Mugabe is also the first president of this country. He must be accorded a befitting recognition by creating a Mugabe Day on our calendar.
A day in a year will not decimate any profit for the business, as the anti-President Mugabe proponents would want the world to believe. Instead, they can profit from the day. In America, retailers made large profits on this day as they came up with promotional sales linked to their president.
In the same way, retailers can take advantage of this day and make huge profits from it. They should be, therefore, at the forefront of supporting this noble proposal.
The Washington Day was later known as the President’s Day and it was now celebrated on the third Monday of every February. The President’s Day honoured the birthdays of all the US presidents, past and present.
Zimbabwe can adopt this same model. Since Cde Mugabe is our first president, the holiday can be initially named after him and celebrated on his birthday on 21 February.
The holiday can later be transformed into a President’s Day in the post Mugabe era, to honour the birthdays of all the presidents.
Although this day should be non-partisan, the presidents to receive this honour must be those that are legitimately elected into office by a popular vote and those who will uphold the hopes and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe.
Martin Luther King Junior is another individual whose birthday is celebrated in the US.
The Martin Luther King Day was signed into a law in 1983 and is held on the third Monday of January to celebrate his life and achievements in the campaign to end racial segregation.
These people’s contributions in their respective societies are not in any way different from those made by President Mugabe.
Thus, the life of President Mugabe deserves a constitutional recognition and patriotic celebration and remembrance.
The hubbub about the proposal of a Mugabe Day is not justified at all. In any case, there are some evil celebrations taking place around, which the same people who are objecting the proposed Mugabe Day, wink at.
The Rhodies have an ex-Rhodies reunion commemoration day where they honour former Rhodesian forces. They honour the murderers who ruthlessly butchered tens of thousands of innocent Zimbabweans in the country and in camps dotted around the neighbouring countries. These ex-Rhodies will be obviously celebrating how they massacred the innocent Zimbabweans.
What hurts most is that an MDC-T daughter, Jacqueline Zwambila was so morally dirty that he found nothing wrong in gracing such an evil commemoration.
MDC-T and its political partners see no problem in celebrating the bloodbath of innocent Zimbabweans. Conversely, they are not comfortable with honouring a man who sacrificed his life to put a stop to the butchery of innocent Zimbabweans.