Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Zimbabwe Cabinet Honors President Robert Mugabe's 87th Birthday

President on Cabinet sitting

Monday, 21 February 2011 20:29
By Tendai Mugabe
Zimbabwe Herald

Cabinet can sit twice a week if there is anyone who feels Government business is lagging behind schedule, President Mugabe has said.

This follows claims by the private media last week that President Mugabe's absence for last week's Cabinet session had compromised Government business.

The private media also insinuated President Mugabe was too ill to attend to Government business - a claim that has been oft repeated but never proven.

The traditional Tuesday sitting of Cabinet at Munhumutapa Building in Harare was last week postponed as President Mugabe had travelled to Singapore for an eye operation check-up.

President Mugabe chairs Cabinet in his capacity as Head of State and Government.

Speaking to journalists after staff in the Office of the President and Cabinet threw him an 87th birthday reception at State House yesterday, President Mugabe said such crucial Government meetings could not be held in his absence.

In any case, President Mugabe said, postponement of a single Cabinet session could not affect Government business as ministers should continue with their normal activities.

Government's broad agenda and specific policies are all determined by the executive sitting as Cabinet.

President Mugabe said, "Why was (my absence) it disturbing Government business? I thought ministers were going about their work normally.

"Yes, we postponed the Cabinet. The Cabinet cannot be held without my presence just as the Council of Ministers cannot be held without (Prime Minister Morgan) Tsvangirai's presence.

"If in fact people think we have lost pace, we can have two Cabinets in one week."

President Mugabe urged the nation to remain resolute in its quest to overcome the "last hurdle of liberation" - economic emancipation.

"After April 1980, we thought that it was over but it was only over politically. There is the economic fight and now even as we grapple with economic programmes those who yesterday were our colonisers are still trying their best to interfere with our systems and to bring about regime change.

"So there is a struggle . . . the warding off of the enemy, resistance to interference, resistance to sanctions, resistance to regime change.

"That is, internally, the challenge we have - to turn our resources into useful earnings. That is what we have been fighting for; to become masters of our own destiny. We are about to get there. Things like regime change, use of sanctions and all those will come and go."

President Mugabe said leaders should respond to society's needs.

"Some of the impediments are external. Colonialism is an external impediment and that is why we fought the struggle; in order to remove the external impediments.

"It is that impediment that cost us a number of lives because we had to make sacrifices. Sacrifices from top to bottom. Sacrifices sometimes meant actual death, and in many cases, torture, incarceration, detention, deprivation and this is it.

"That is how I have looked at myself. I started as an ordinary member, and (was) raised by others to this level.

"This is why I continue to resist any interference in domestic affairs of our country," he said.

He said his 87th birthday should be looked at in reference to his contributions to the nation.

President Mugabe discouraged youths from taking drugs and to lead healthy lifestyles.

The Office of the President and Cabinet presented their boss with seven computers and five tonnes of mealie-meal as birthday gifts.

President Mugabe said he will donate the mealie-meal to charities of his choice.

Runner up in TV reality show Big Brother Africa, Munyaradzi Chidzonga, gave President Mugabe a T-shirt, a DVD of his "Lobola" movie and a national flag; while the Hatcliffe North Choir gave him a CD with a song they compiled for his birthday.

National celebrations will be held in Harare on Saturday under the auspices of the 21st February Movement.

Meanwhile, Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday said Zimbabwe should take stock of President Mugabe's great achievements.

"On behalf of the party, I want to congratulate President Robert Gabriel Mugabe on this important day which marks the day of his birth.

"It's not only his day in terms of celebrating but for the party as well as the nation and, indeed, all progressive mankind to join him on this momentous occasion.

"It's a day of stock-taking for it reminds us of the odious journey he has travelled together with his colleagues like the late national hero Cde Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and many others to liberate and deliver this nation to sovereignty. We wish him many more returns and indeed encourage youths to emulate the virtues embedded in his character and style of leadership."

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