The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) are demanding that country’s main international airport named after its former president and long time leader, Robert Mugabe be changed.
Previously, the airport was Harare International Airport but it was renamed Robert Mugabe International Airport 2 weeks before his ousting by the military in November 2017.
Transport Minister Joram Gumbo justified the decision on the grounds that Mr Mugabe was a “war hero” and “African icon.” However, the country’s war veterans do not agree and they want Mugabe’s name removed from the airport saying, Mugabe is a sellout of the liberation struggle.
According to ZNLWA Secretary General, and newly elected member of Parliament for Gokwe Central‚ Victor Matematanda‚ “The current name is tarnishing the liberation struggle.”
“We are going to demand the removal of Robert Mugabe’s name from the international airport in Harare. Tomorrow we are going march to Harare international airport to demand the removal of Mugabe’s dirty name. Airport cannot be named after a last minute traitor,” he said on Wednesday.
Ironically, the supposed war veterans association which is meant to be an independent association are an influential group within Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party. Matematanda also noted that the group is behind President Emmerson Mnangwagwa’s victory.
The name change has been a controversial issue in the southern African country. Zimbabwean journalist Elias Mambo suggested the change of name was merely to massage Mugabe’s ego, while the opposition described it as an insult.
Under Mugabe’s leadership the government also announced plans to build a $1 billion university named after him. Minister of tertiary education Jonathan Moyo, had said it was a fitting tribute to Mugabe’s “commitment to education and his exemplary leadership”.