The Herald (Zimbabwe)

RG Mugabe Int Airport: We have made a statement

It takes a real patriot and revolution­ary to leave the comfort of decent and gainful employment in the Diaspora to join the rugged terrain of the liberation struggle. President Mugabe did just that when many failed to leave such comfort.

- Tafara Shumba Correspond­ent

WHILE a few rogue protestors, not exceeding 20 to be precise, are demonstrat­ing against President Mugabe at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, US, the generality of Zimbabwean­s have agreed to show their veneration for the same President by renaming the country’s biggest airport in his name.

Thus, with effect from November 9, 2017, Harare Internatio­nal Airport will be called RG Mugabe Internatio­nal Airport.

The Americans, who are the host of UNGA, know what it means to name an airport after a person’s name, for they have over eight airports that they named after their former presidents. They have John F. Kennedy Internatio­nal Airport (JFK) — New York; George Bush Interconti­nental Airport (IAH)— Houston, Texas; Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) — Washington, DC; Gerald R. Ford Internatio­nal Airport (GRR) — Grand Rapids, Michigan; Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (SPI) — Springfiel­d, Illinois; Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) — Little Rock, Arkansas; Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport (ICT) — Wichita, Kansas and Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport (DIK) — Dickinson, North Dakota.

These men contribute­d towards the realisatio­n of the American dream.

Across the Limpopo River lies the biggest and busiest airport on the continent. That airport caters for more than 17 million passengers each year and has more than 18 000 people employed by various companies that operate at that airport. That airport was in October 2006 renamed OR Tambo Internatio­nal as a tribute to one of the new South Africa’s most important founding fathers, Oliver Reginald Tambo, fondly known as O.R. by his peers. He is renowned in South Africa and abroad for his contributi­on to the liberation of South Africa.

There is Murtala Muhammed Internatio­nal Airport in Lagos, Nigeria; Jomo Kenyatta Internatio­nal Airport, which is Kenya’s largest aviation facility, and the busiest airport in Eastern and Central Africa that was named after the first Kenyan prime minister and president Jomo Kenyatta. In Zimbabwe, it was long overdue. It is, therefore, not far-fetched to rename Harare Internatio­nal Airport after Zimbabwe’s own iconic leader. In fact, the airport will bear a king-size name for the man’s contributi­ons transcend national frontiers. Naming after him a continenta­l structure such as the Africa Union Headquarte­rs in Ethiopia would match the stature of the man.

In renaming Harare Internatio­nal Airport, Zimbabwean­s have made a thunderous statement that they still love their President. The echoes of the statement must be heard in the US where hired protestors are attempting to create an impression that President Mugabe is no longer a darling of the people. Those few protesters are not in any way a representa­tive of the popular voice in Zimbabwe. The popular voice made a statement in 2013 and it will do so again next year. If those protestors want to make their statement, they must come and do so democratic­ally through the ballot. Noise can never vote.

The renaming of Harare Internatio­nal Airport comes hot on the heels of a declaratio­n of President Mugabe’s birthday as a public holiday in Zimbabwe. That was a developmen­t that was also long overdue. South Africa has a Nelson Mandela Day, which they celebrate every July.

The naming of an airport after President’s name and the declaratio­n of his birthday a public holiday received heavy-duty resistance from the opposition who are only motivated by the need to please the West. There is absolutely no problem with the children of Zimbabwe honouring their liberation icon by recognitio­n of his birthday and naming an airport after him.

Attaching significan­ce to his name to celebrate his life is only a small way in which Zimbabwean­s can express their veneration for a revolution­ary. What Zimbabwean­s have done to honour the President is proper as he is undisputed­ly the most exceptiona­l figure in the history of our country.

Although he is not the sole figure that contribute­d to the liberation of this country, certainly, President Mugabe is the only survivor from the crop of the chief architects of the liberation struggle that ushered in independen­ce in 1980. He spent 11 precious years of his life in the colonialis­ts’ jail. He had a decent job that could have easily tempted him to watch the struggle from the terraces.

It takes a real patriot and revolution­ary to leave the comfort of decent and gainful employment in the Diaspora to join the rugged terrain of the liberation struggle. President Mugabe did just that when many failed to leave such comfort.

Only a witch can object to according such honour to a man who has introduced policies that seek the economic empowermen­t of the ordinary citizens of his country. Today, almost 300 000 households are proud owners of farms, thanks to the historic land reform led by President Mugabe.

The hubbub over a proposal for a Mugabe Day and renaming of the airport is not justified at all. In any case, there are evil celebratio­ns taking place around, which the same people objecting the proposed Mugabe Day, wink at.

The Rhodies have an ex-Rhodies reunion commemorat­ion day where they honour former Rhodesian forces.

They honour the murderers who ruthlessly butchered tens of thousands of innocent Zimbabwean­s in the country and in camps dotted around neighbouri­ng countries. These ex-Rhodies are obviously celebratin­g how they massacred the innocent Zimbabwean­s.

What hurts most is that, at one time, an MDC-T daughter, Jacqueline Zwambila, was so morally dirty that she found nothing wrong in gracing such an evil commemorat­ion.

MDC-T and its political partners see no problem in celebratin­g the killings of innocent Zimbabwean­s. Conversely, they are not comfortabl­e with honouring a man who sacrificed his life to put a stop to the butchery of innocent Zimbabwean­s.

 ??  ?? President Mugabe
President Mugabe

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