Zimbabwe declares Mugabe’s birthday public holiday

The Zimbabwean government has declared February 21, birthday of former President Robert Mugabe as a public holiday.

According to The Herald, a state-owned newspaper, the notice is contained in statutory instrument 143 published in the Government Gazette on Friday.

“His Excellency the President, in terms of Section 2(2) of the Public Holidays and Prohibition of Business Act, hereby makes the following notice: (1) This notice may be cited as the Public Holidays and Prohibition of Business Notice, 2017,” the statutory instrument read.

Calls for Mugabe’s birthday to be made a national holiday were adopted by the government in August following intense lobbying by the Zanu-PF Youth League.

The party youths pushed for the birthday to be declared a holiday in recognition of Mugabe’s efforts in empowering the youths.

The government gazetted it as Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day.

The day has been previously commemorated as the 21st February Movement by the party in celebration of the principles and ideals of the former president.

Mugabe resigned on November 21, putting an end to his 37-year reign, after the military seized power.

He was succeeded by his former Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom he allegedly sacked to pave way for Grace Mugabe, his wife, to succeed him.

In his inaugural address, Mnangagwa said Mugabe would remain his mentor and friend.

The new president was Mugabe’s bodyguard.