RG MU­GABE AIR­PORT IS BORN Mas­sive up­grade to match Pres­i­dent’s stature un­der­way Pres­i­dent grate­ful for lat­est hon­our

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Zva­maida Mur­wira Fari­rai Machivenyika

THE Harare In­ter­na­tional Air­port was yes­ter­day re­named the Robert Gabriel Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port and will un­dergo mas­sive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion to match the stature of Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe, a global icon.

Trans­port and In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Jo­ram Gumbo said Gov­ern­ment had since ne­go­ti­ated with China Jiangsu In­ter­na­tional that re­fur­bished Vic­to­ria Falls In­ter­na­tional Air­port to work on the Robert Gabriel Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

“I am pleased to in­form you, Your Ex­cel­lency, that in or­der to match your stature, the air­port will soon un­dergo a mas­sive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme. The re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process will in­clude, among oth­ers, con­struc­tion of three ad­di­tional aero bridges, a new fire sta­tion, a mod­ern ter­mi­nal build­ing and a new VVIP pav­il­ion,” said Min­is­ter Gumbo.

“Ne­go­ti­a­tions for the fi­nanc­ing of the project are pro­gress­ing well and near­ing com­ple­tion and we ex­pect the work to com­mence be­fore the end of the year. The con­trac­tor, China Jiangsu In­ter­na­tional who did us proud at the Vic­to­ria Falls In­ter­na­tional Air­port has vowed to outdo them­selves on this project as be­fit­ting your stature.”

Min­is­ter Gumbo said his min­istry was now work­ing on an Air­ports De­vel­op­ment Master Plan to be shared with the rest of the Gov­ern­ment.

“The plan will guide avi­a­tion de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try, in pur­suit of our goal of cre­at­ing a hub of avi­a­tion ser­vices in the coun­try. My Min­istry is pur­su­ing al­ter­na­tive and in­no­va­tive fund­ing modal­i­ties to en­sure that the plan comes to fruition,” he said.

In re­nam­ing the air­port as RG Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Min­is­ter Gumbo said, the min­istry was im­ple­ment­ing a de­ci­sion of the Zanu-PF con­fer­ence to name the coun­try’s big­gest and busiest air­port in hon­our of the Head of State and Gov­ern­ment and Com­man­der-in-Chief of the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Pub­lic Works and Na­tional IN his ad­dress to the gath­er­ing, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe thanked the na­tion for hon­our­ing him.

“On be­half of Gov­ern­ment and the peo­ple of Zim­babwe and on my own be­half I want to thank most sin­cerely the Min­istry of Trans­port and In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment for the hon­our be­stowed on me by re­nam­ing the Harare In­ter­na­tional Air­port the Robert Gabriel Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port,” he said.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe added that Gov­ern­ment recog­nised the im­por­tance of air trans­port to the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth.

“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, the is­sue of de­vel­op­ment, the is­sue en­com­pass­ing all our peo­ple and try to im­prove their con­di­tion.

“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,” Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said.

He com­mended the Min­istry of Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment for com­plet­ing var­i­ous projects that in­clude the up­grad­ing of Vic­to­ria Falls In­ter­na­tional Air­port, which can now han­dle 1,5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers an­nu­ally from 500 000.

Hous­ing Min­is­ter Saviour Ka­sukuwere said his Min­istry would col­lab­o­rate with the Min­istry of Trans­port and In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment to en­sure the avail­abil­ity of ad­di­tional land for the ex­pan­sion of the air­port.

“This de­vel­op­ment sig­ni­fies ex­cit­ing times ahead es­pe­cially for our avi­a­tion and tourism sec­tors and the coun­try at large. Vis­i­tors and tourists from Europe, Asia among oth­ers now fly di­rectly into the coun­try to ex­pe­ri­ence one of the Seven Won­ders of the World, the Mighty Mosi oa Tunya, the Vic­to­ria Falls.

“We there­fore would like to com­mend the min­istry for com­ing up with var­i­ous ini­tia­tives and projects that mean­ing­fully and im­mensely con­trib­ute to our coun­try’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said.

He added that Gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to as­sist­ing the min­istry in ac­cess­ing fund­ing for var­i­ous projects to grow the trans­port sec­tor in­clud­ing ex­pan­sion of var­i­ous air­ports across the coun­try.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said the Min­istry of Trans­port and In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment had var­i­ous ex­cit­ing projects lined up.

“I want you to keep your ap­petite up and ex­pect sur­prises that will come our way. Madyira panze vaJo­ram (Gumbo; Min­is­ter of Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment) hava dyire mumba, I Gumbo kwete rimwe chete, kwete maviri an­otenge matatu kana mana,” he said draw­ing laugh­ter from the crowd.

He re­it­er­ated his grat­i­tude on be­half of him­self, his fam­ily and the en­tire coun­try on the hon­our be­stowed on him say­ing it has brought joy to all Zim­bab­weans.

The Robert Gabriel Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port was built in 1956 and was com­mis­sioned in 1957 mainly to serve colo­nial­ists.

It was re­named Harare In­ter­na­tional Air­port from Sal­is­bury In­ter­na­tional Air­port at in­de­pen­dence.

“As this air­port is set for fur­ther ex­pan­sion, we will con­tinue to work with the Min­istry of Trans­port and In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment to en­sure that the land re­quired for fu­ture ex­pan­sion is made avail­able,” said Min­is­ter Ka­sukuwere.

“This air­port is part of your legacy, wise lead­er­ship and you have given pri­or­ity to in­fra­struc­ture and util­ity de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try for the en­tirety of the peo­ple of Zim­babwe.”

Min­is­ter Ka­sukuwere said the air­port was renowned for its distinc­tive con­i­cal tower which he de­scribed as land­mark.

“For vis­i­tors it is their first glimpse of Zim­babwe. For those re­turn­ing from their trips, it is a wel­come first sight of home. As you are the face of Zim­babwe, it is only be­fit­ting that this air­port be named af­ter you, we want to ex­press our grat­i­tude to you for ac­cept­ing this hon­our be­stowed on you by your grate­ful na­tion. It is there­fore ap­pro­pri­ate that the air­port be named af­ter an il­lus­tri­ous son of Zim­babwe,” Min­is­ter Ka­sukuwere said.

Min­is­ter of State for Harare Pro­vin­cial Af­fairs, Miriam Chikukwa said the re­nam­ing of the air­port demon­strated the pride by Zim­bab­weans in Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe She said Harare was hon­oured to host the air­port. “I am, there­fore, de­lighted that with this re­nam­ing, the air­port will soon un­dergo a de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme, which will make im­mense con­tri­bu­tion to the achieve­ment of the goals and ob­jec­tives of the coun­try’s eco­nomic blue­print, Zim-As­set within the in­fra­struc­ture and util­i­ties clus­ter,” said Cde Chikukwa.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe un­veils a plaque to mark the of­fi­cial re­nam­ing of the Harare In­ter­na­tional Air­port to Robert Gabriel Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port in his hon­our in Harare yes­ter­day. Flank­ing him is Trans­port and In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Dr Jo­ram Gumbo. - (Pic­ture by Pres­i­den­tial Pho­tog­ra­pher Joseph Nyadzayo)

The Robert Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port

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