Zimbabwe war vets demand Mugabe’s ‘dirty’ name removed from airport

Workers put finishing touches on the new sign at Zimbabwe's main international airport in Harare renamed after Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel Mugabe on November 9, 2017 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attended a ceremony re-naming Harare Airport in his honour on Thursday, as his sacking of the vice president fuelled speculation over his succession plans.The 93-year-old president unveiled a plaque at the newly named Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, located 15 kilometers (nine miles) outside the centre of the capital. The refurbishment of the airport has been condemned by opposition figures as a waste of money. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA

HARARE – War veterans in Zimbabwe have resolved to march to the Robert Mugabe International Airport to demand the removal of its “dirty” name.

Formerly Harare International Airport‚ the facility was renamed in November 2017‚ a few days before Mugabe was forced into resignation through a military orchestrated operation.

Speaking at a media conference in Harare on Tuesday‚ War Veterans’ leader and newly elected member of Parliament for Gokwe Central‚ Victor Matematanda‚ said Mugabe had joined a long list of sell-outs of the liberation struggle.

“Tomorrow we are going to demand the removal of Mugabe’s dirty name and we ask our leaders to put names of our heroes‚” he said.

On the eve of the harmonised elections‚ Mugabe declared that he would not vote for his “oppressors” in reference to Zanu-PF. Thereafter‚ president-elect Emmerson Mngangagwa’s poor showing in various constituencies in the three Mashonaland provinces was linked to Mugabe’s last-minute support for opposition MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa.

Mnangagwa told Zanu-PF supporters last week that there were Mugabe elements within the party that had sabotaged him and he would fire them from the party.

“There were others who were saying ‘vote for the MP‚ but as for the president just do what you think is good for you.’ We now know these people. What it shows is that such comrades do not rally with the leadership of the party. So‚ such people should be retired and if they want to come back they should come back as full members of the party‚” he said.

In an interview with Independent Press Services last week Mnangagwa also hinted that he would strip Mugabe of at least 12 farms and the former leader would remain with just one.

In the past Mnangagwa has made good his promises‚ such as withdrawing the security detail from Mugabe on the eve of the July 30 polls in a suspected act of vengeance after the former leader threw his weight behind Chamisa.

Since his removal from office‚ Mugabe has been living in seclusion. For the first time since the death of his first wife Sarah Francesca “Sally” Mugabe‚ who succumbed to renal failure in 1992, he did not attend the National Heroes Day commemoration festivities on August 14.

Traditionally Mugabe would lay flowers on Sally’s grave‚ an event that became a highlight of the festivities at the National Heroes Acre. He would also lay flowers on his younger sister Sabina Mugabe’s grave.

But despite denigrating its former leader’s legacy‚ Zanu-PF has gone back to his policies. Last week the West led calls for the party to respect the rule of law at a time when government’s charm offensive for international reintegration had started showing positive results.