Zimbabwe’s main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, has said that the renaming of Harare International Airport to Robert Gabriel Mugabe international was an “insult” to Zimbabweans.
In a statement, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu, said that as soon as his party which he described “as a government in waiting” took over, it would reverse the name change.
“As soon as a new democratic government takes over power after elections next year, this façade of renaming Harare International Airport to Robert Mugabe International Airport will be promptly reversed,” he said.
Mugabe on Thursday unveiled a plaque to commemorate the renaming of Harare International Airport after himself.
The change of name was an “honour”, the 93-year-old 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 online.
Mugabe already had 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 nonagenarian.
Gutu said that the veteran leader had turned the country into his “personal property” as he was doing as he pleased.
He added that they were many liberation fighters who “are more deserving national heroes such as Herbert Chitepo, Leopold Takawira, Lookout Masuku and many others after whom the Harare International Airport can be justifiably renamed”.
Gutu said that Zimbabwean had endured “decades of political oppression, rampant corruption and gross mismanagement of the national economy under the autocratic and fascist rule of Robert Mugabe”.
“The day of reckoning is nigh. The toiling masses of Zimbabwe will very soon be reclaiming their dignity and liberty from Robert Mugabe and his corrupt gang of political thugs and looters. That’s for sure,” said Gutu.