Zimbabwe renames main airport after Mugabe, plans $153 million upgrade

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Zimbabwean Government has renamed the country’s main airport after President Robert Mugabi, Transport Minister Joram Gumbo, has said.

Gumbo told newsmen that the airport would be upgraded at a cost of 153 million dollars in an effort to attract more visitors, state media reported on Thursday.

Harare International Airport will be known as Robert Mugabe International Airport, while it is expected to undergo an upgrade so that it can handle 6.5 million passengers a year, more than double its current capacity.

“This renaming is a way his legacy lives forever and he has to be remembered by everyone who comes to Zimbabwe today and forever,’’ Gumbo said.

A local media reported that China Export and Import Bank would provide a 153 million dollars loan that would, among other things, be used to expand the runway to allow multiple planes to land at the same time.

The 93-year-old Mugabe while accepting the honour said renaming the airport was “a great gesture” to him and his family.

In the last few months, Mugabe’s vocal ruling ZANU-PF youth wing has been pushing the government to honour Mugabe by giving public institutions his name.

The government has said from 2018 the veteran ruler’s Feb. 21 birthday will be known as Robert Mugabe National Youth Day, a public holiday.

On Aug. 9, the cash-strapped government announced plans to build a 1 billion dollars university named after Mugabe, a move that was criticised by the opposition as a waste of resources.

Report says many major roads are already named after Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for over three decades.

Mugabe is the only leader that Zimbabwe has known since independence from Britain in 1980 and in spite of his advanced age, he remains the most influential political figure in the country. (Reuters/NAN)


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