Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe attends a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of Harare earlier this month. Picture: Ben Curtis/AP

Harare  - Zimbabwe's new leadership has authorized a decision to designate former president Robert Mugabe's February 21 birthday a public holiday.

The decision was published in a government notice on Friday, the day of the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mugabe as vice president on November 6 but returned to Zimbabwe after a military takeover.

Read: Mugabe public holiday plan slammed

Most Zimbabweans were delighted when Mugabe resigned on November 21 after nearly four decades in power. While acknowledging past mistakes during Mugabe's rule, Mnangagwa described the former leader as a mentor and ruling party officials have continued to praise Mugabe's earlier role in the country's evolution.

Also read: Zimbabwe renames main airport after Mugabe

The campaign to make 93-year-old Mugabe's birthday a national holiday began during his rule. In August, the government announced the designation after months of lobbying by members of the ruling party's youth league.

AP