Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s birthday should be celebrated like Christmas Day, the ruling Zanu-PF youth league has said, adding that the veteran leader is “The Messiah” to them.

The party’s national youth leader, Kudzai Chipanga said this during an interview in which he declared that Mugabe’s birthday should not be treated like an “ordinary day”.

Mugabe’s birthday falls on February 21. This year the nonagenarian is turning 93.

“To us, February 21 is not just a day. To us, it is a special day we treat in the same manner Christians treat December 25, the birthday of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to be blasphemous, but in my humble view, President Mugabe is second to Jesus Christ. He is our saviour, so his birthday means a lot for us the youths of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Chipanga also hailed Mugabe’s wisdom, adding that he was the only person who could steer the southern African country from its current economic situation.

Zanu-PF youths had set a fund-raising target for this year’s celebrations – but it appeared to be lower than normal.

Each province was expected to raise $25 000 (R334 000) towards the event which was set to be held in the Matopos National Park. There were 10 provinces in Zimbabwe.

Last year youths were reportedly told to raise $30 000 (R400 000) from each province though some had difficulty meeting the target.