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Mugabe’s birthday declared holiday in Zimbabawe

Zimbabwe has officially declared 21 February to be Robert Gabriel Mugabe National Youth Day, thereby making the former president’s birthday a public holiday, the Herald newspaper reports.

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

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

The police and army are to stage joint patrols as the country returns to normal, the authorities have said.

They have already received reports of looting and illegal occupation of properties, particularly farms and houses.

Police had not been seen in public until 21 November when Mr Mugabe resigned and they slowly started returning to work. The army had effectively been in charge.

Before the army operation, police officers had been an ever-present sight in the centre of the capital, Harare, and roads around the country, although they were not always welcome as many complained of police harassment.

Calls for the former president’s birthday to be made a national holiday was adopted by the government in August, following intense lobbying by the Zanu-PF Youth League, the Herald reports.

The decision was officially recorded on Friday, it adds.

Last week, President 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.

Reports that Mr Mugabe was granted $10m (£7.5m) to ease him out of office have not been confirmed.

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