Remove Mugabe's 'dirty' name from main airport, Zim war vets demand

2018-08-23 06:01
 The newly renamed Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare. (AP)

The newly renamed Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare. (AP)

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Zimbabwe's 1970s war veterans have reportedly demanded that government renames the country's main airport, the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.

Mugabe unveiled a plaque to commemorate the renaming of Harare International Airport after himself a week before his unceremonious removal from power last year.

The change of name was an "honour", the 93-year-old then president said, after he drew open some gold curtains covering the commemorative plaque to the flourish of music from a police brass band.

"May I on behalf of government, the people of Zimbabwe and my own behalf, thank most sincerely the ministry of transport for the honour bestowed in me by renaming the Harare International Airport to Robert Mugabe International Airport," he said, in quotes carried by the state-run Herald newspaper at the time.

But, the country's war veterans who were influential in Mugabe's fall have since described the veteran leader as "a sell-out" after he endorsed the country's main opposition in the just ended elections.

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According to New, the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said the former president was no longer befitting of the honour bestowed on him last year.

Mahiya also described the relationship between the ruling Zanu-PF party and its former leader of several decades as "irretrievably broken down with irreconcilable difference and an irremediable state".

Meanwhile, the war veterans' secretary general, Victor Matemadanda, vowed that they would push for the removal of "Mugabe's dirty name" from the airport.  

Mugabe already has streets in major towns and cities named after him. There was also a push to build a new billion-dollar Robert Gabriel Mugabe University north of Harare, and to rename the giant Tokwe Mukosi dam in Masvingo after the long-time veteran leader.

Zimbabweans took to social media to express their views on the war veterans' calls.

Writing on his Facebook page, an award winning journalist Hopewell Chinóno said that the airport should be renamed after a Zimbabwean hero who died before the country gained its independence in 1980. 

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Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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