President Robert Mugabe, on Thursday morning, commissioned the newly upgraded Harare International Airport, which was officially renamed Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport today.
The renaming of the Harare International Airport is in recognition of the contributions of President Robert Mugabe towards the liberation of the people of Zimbabwe, local news portals reported.
It was also reported that the 93-year-old South African leader is being honoured for his roles in “black empowerment which have seen Zimbabwe becoming arguably the first African country post-independence to win back its land through a sustained land reform programme that saw the allocation of agricultural plots to thousands of landless blacks who had suffered through colonial deprivation”.
According to Zimbabwe’s Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr. Joram Gumbo, the decision to rename the Airport was arrived at during the Victoria Falls Zanu PF conference, held in 2015.
Gumbo also disclosed that Mugabe’s office took over the renaming project last month and elevated it to national project status to qualify it for government funding.
In his speech, Zimbabwe’s long-serving ruler, thanked the Ministry of Transport for the gesture, adding that he believes his family and Zimbabweans in general are also excited about the honour bestowed on him.
“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.”
“My government recognizes that air transport is pivotal to economic growth. While transport in general facilitates the movement of goods and people in general, air transport promotes tourism and investment. It promotes international trade…”
The colourful event was also attended his wife, Dr Amai Grace Mugabe, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and some Zimbabwean senior government officials, service chiefs, and ministers.
Robert Mugabe’s cash-strapped government reportedly spent a whopping $500 000 in funding the process of renaming the Harare International Airport.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram has confirmed that the codes of the newly renamed airport will be internationally updated under the new name, in accordance with aviation rules.
A notice has since been issued to pilots and operators worldwide informing them that from November 9, Harare International Airport would be known as the Robert Mugabe International Airport.
Zimbabwe is not only cash-strapped, the country is also grappling with an unemployment rate estimated at over 90 per cent.