PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party is mulling forcing the adoption of a national holiday to commemorate the long serving strongman’s birthday, it has emerged.
The plan was revealed by the ruling party’s Matabeleland North provincial youth chairperson Tamuka Nyoni in a speech delivered during festivities to mark Mugabe’s 91st birthday in Victoria Falls last weekend.
Nyoni’s proposal, if adopted, is meant to “recognise the President’s contributions before and after independence to the development of the nation state of Zimbabwe”.
He explained: “It (declaring February 21 a national holiday) will help the young people in this country to remember the legacy created by His Excellency just like what other countries do.
“Look at how the late President Nelson Mandela is being remembered in South Africa, we want this great day to be in our minds through and through as we celebrate with our President.”
Party insiders told NewZimbabwe.com that Nyoni was only being used to gauge the people’s reaction to a proposal that could also be “sold” to the African Union as well as the United Nations.
A few years ago the UN in November 2009 adopted Mandela Day in honor of South Africa’s first black leader.
Mugabe and Mandela, despite being neighbours, were never the best of friends amid reports that the Zimbabwean leader felt the South African emerged from 27 years of imprisonment to overshadow him in the region.
After Mandela’s death Mugabe told a South African journalist the anti-apartheid icon had been “too much of a saint to White people”. (new ZImbabwe)