President Mugabe celebrated his 91st birthday yesterday with some children born at different health centres across Zimbabwe on the day being christened after him.
The President is understood to have enjoyed his birthday at a private reception with family.
Scores of Zimbabweans also marked 21 February with congratulatory messages on social media and sent happy birthday wishes to the President.
Further, Diplomatic Corps Dean Ambassador Mawampanga Mwanananga said Africa was blessed to have an iconic leader in the mould of the African Union Chair.
Celebrations kicked off on Friday night as thousands converged on Harare’s City Sports Centre for the 21st February Movement fundraising musical gala.
A blockbuster line-up, which featured Alick Macheso, Suluman Chimbetu, Winky D, Tocky Vibes, Soul Jah Love and Seh Calaz lit up the venue with polished all-round performances befitting the occasion.
Funds raised at the gala could not be established, though they will be channelled towards the hosting of the 21st February Movement celebrations in Victoria Falls this Saturday.
Themed “Celebrating the birth of Gushungo, the icon of Zimbabwe’s revolution and champion of youth empowerment”, the main event will draw youths from across Zimbabwe.
Yesterday, several enchanted families celebrated in a unique manner as they welcomed newborns at various health centres countrywide.
By noon, 24 babies – 13 of them female – had been delivered at major hospitals contacted by The Sunday Mail.
Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals had the highest number (nine), while Chitungwiza General Hospital registered six; United Bulawayo Hospital four; Masvingo Provincial Hospital three and Marondera Provincial Hospital two.
At Parirenyatwa, two were named after President Mugabe: One was christened Gabriel Gama and the other Robert Chidawo.
Ms Debra Gama said she wanted her son – Gabriel – to be an exemplary and visionary leader like the President.
“I would like to wish President Mugabe a happy birthday. People asked me this morning (yesterday) what the baby’s name would be and I told them he shall be called Gabriel.
“I hope God will bless him with long life and wisdom just as he has done with President Mugabe.”
Ms Esther Chidawo said: “I am happy I have given birth to my son on the same day that President Mugabe was born. I decided to name him Robert because of this.
“I hope he will follow in his (President Mugabe’s) footsteps.”
The Zanu-PF Youth League weighed in with articles of clothing worth thousands of dollars for
babies born yesterday countrywide.
At Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, the party’s secretary for youth affairs, Cde Pupurai Togarep, said: “We want to instil a sense of responsibility and pride in children born on this day because it is the day that President Mugabe was born.
“We want them to be proud of who they are, their country and follow in the President’s footsteps, and this can be achieved through events like these.”
Ambassador Mwanananga — who is also DRC’s chief diplomat to Zimbabwe — described the President as a global icon.
He said as AU Chair, President Mugabe will be a key conduit to meeting Agenda 2063 objectives.
“We wish President Mugabe all the best on his birthday and many more years and blessings from God. For us, it is a blessing to have him and work with him as Africans. Africa has been blessed to have such a leader.
“He is an icon in the same category as the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Kenyatta and Mandela, to mention only a few. He believes in the destiny of Africa.
“In Africa, we have different types of leaders: Those who believe that the destiny of the continent lies in the hands of outsiders, specifically the West, and then there are leaders such as President Mugabe who believe that Africa can stand on its own.”
He went on: “His Chairmanship of the African Union could not have come at a better time; a time when he is going to guide the continent towards the first stages of Agenda 2063, which seeks to see Africa emerge as a global powerhouse.
“His stance on resource nationalism has also been very inspirational to all across the continent. God gave every people their own piece of land; even the Eskimos were given their own piece of land.
“We were given Africa, and all its resource wealth belongs to us. As President Mugabe always says, those people should leave us alone and he is totally right.”
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