Zimbabwe declares Mugabe’s birthday public holiday

Robert Mugabe (Photo Credit: CNN)

The Zimbabwean government has officially declared February 2 Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day, thereby making the former president’s birthday a public holiday.

According to Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper, calls for the former president’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 decision was, however, officially recorded on Friday, it adds.

Mr. Mugabe resigned last week after a military intervention and days of mass protests.

New President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to form a cabinet this week.

Last week, Mr. Mnangagwa said the former president needed to be given the respect and recognition he deserved as one of the founders and leaders of Zimbabwe.

“To me personally, he remains a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader,” he said during his acceptance speech at his inauguration on Friday.

The BBC reports that there are fears that Mr. Mnangagwa, who is associated with some of the worst atrocities committed under the ruling Zanu-PF party since independence in 1980, will not usher in the democratic reforms that many in Zimbabwe are hoping for.

Earlier this month, Mr. Mnangagwa was sacked as vice-president, triggering a political crisis that led to the army taking control and Mr Mugabe eventually standing down.

Mr. Mugabe and his wife, Grace, remain at their house in the capital, Harare, and have no plans to leave the country.

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