More than a birthday celebration


MANY know the 21st February Movement celebrations as the day set aside to honour the birth of a prominent figure in Zimbabwean politics and history, President Robert Mugabe.
But the 21st February Movement celebrations, observed annually since 1986, are more than a birthday celebration.
The movement was established in order to create an opportunity for the youth of Zimbabwe and indeed Africa to draw lessons from President Mugabe’s illustrious life of sacrifice and public service.
Besides suffusing the youth with the spirit of patriotism and Pan-Africanism, the Movement also has an operational trust fund that caters for youth activities throughout the year.
Early in 1986, the Youth League of the ZANU PF party that President Mugabe leads decided to have an educational and cultural movement for children.
But the often asked question is, has the youths, since the inception of the 21st February Movement, lived, walked, talked and anchored the President’s virtues into practice?
Is there any reflection, any stock taking, any introspection and any mechanism for the youth to absorb these rare qualities of leadership exhibited by President Mugabe?
The answer is ‘yes’.
Youths have embraced empowerment initiatives that are the key to an economic transformation in line with the Zim-ASSET blueprint.
Young entrepreneurs have described the 21st February Movement as a platform for youths to reflect on how they can contribute to national development.
Youth entrepreneur, Charlene Rutunga said the 21st February Movement is of great significance to young people as an enabling environment has been created for young entrepreneurs through empowerment programmes.
“The President has been able to get the Zimbabwean people to believe in his vision,” said Rutunga.
“His penchant for action, ability and skills has been the driving force behind the success of the land reform, indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes, among other successful programmes initiated and implemented by ZANU PF.”
Most of today’s young people have benefited from the policies spearheaded by President Mugabe such as education, indigenisation and land reform.
After independence, education became his priority resulting in the country achieving the highest literacy rate in Africa.
The introduction of the Presidential Scholarship Fund and Computerisation Programme is testimony of President Mugabe’s recognition of the value of people hence he continually invested in education.
Unoziba Tenga from Harare said as the country fights corruption, youths and some undisciplined adults should draw lessons from the 21st February Movement and adopt practices and behaviour that benefits the country.
“Corruption, selfishness and self-aggrandisement have been the greatest ills which have seen many leaders fall by the wayside,” he said.
“Zimbabwean youth should take pride in President Mugabe in that he possesses a strong moral compass, which has seen attempts by his detractors to seek ill-gotten wealth fall to nought.”
President Mugabe has always demanded honesty from his team and Zimbabweans in general.
Jephiter Tsamwi however, said today’s youth should stand steadfast in defending the country’s sovereignty as the war against imperialists continues.
“Youths have the capacity to defend their countries against recolonisation if they resist being corrupted by imperialist forces,” he said.
President Mugabe said if managed well, today’s youth represents Africa’s best development asset over the next decade.
“For this to happen it is important to better understand Africa’s youth in order to design and implement the best policies aimed at unlocking its creativity and innovativeness,” he said.


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