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.

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion & Analysis - 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

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