HARARE International Airport was yesterday renamed Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in honour of President Robert Mugabe’s sterling work in the aviation industry.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Zanu PF is in the habit of bussing thousands of supporters to cheer on their leader but yesterday, some of the tents at the airport were virtually empty.
Civil servants from various government departments and apostolic sect members made up part of the unimpressive crowd.
Few bussed Zanu PF supporters fought for T-shirts which were being distributed by the members of the Zimbabwe Youth Service, commonly known as Border Gezi, behind the tents as Mugabe was reading out his prepared speech.
Some sang and danced in jubilation at the recent ouster of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa outside the venue, paying little attention to the event while others arrived in lorries and buses well after the event.
Mugabe expressed gratitude for the honour.
“May I, on behalf of government, the people of Zimbabwe and my own behalf thank most sincerely the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development for the honour bestowed on me by renaming the Harare International Airport Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport,” he said.
“It is indeed a great honour for me and I am humbled by this gesture. My government recognises that air transport is pivotal to the economic growth of our country and we have been debating this issue of economic growth, economic development, the issue of encompassing all our people and time to improve their conditions.
“While transport in general accelerates the movement of people and goods in a cost effective way, air transport facilitates and promotes national and regional trade tourism, investment and integration. I am sure it also promotes international trade, tourism and investment.”
Despite severe challenges associated with air transport in Zimbabwe, Mugabe said the Transport ministry continued to do the nation proud by upgrading the country’s major airports.
Transport minister Joram Gumbo said the airport would undergo massive rehabilitation including construction of additional three aero bridges, a new fire station, a modern terminal building and a new VVIP pavilion.
However, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu condemned the untimely renaming of the airport. “Almost every city and town in Zimbabwe has got a road named after Robert Mugabe.
As if this was not enough, $1 billion of State funds has been budgeted to construct the Robert Mugabe University, a private university that will be owned by the Mugabe family,” the opposition party spokesperson said. And it is just a matter of weeks before Grace Mugabe is appointed State Vice-President in Zimbabwe. The circus continues as the toiling masses of Zimbabwe watch with bated breath. When is this madness going to stop? When is this lunacy going to be curbed?”