Harare International Airport would be given a new name after Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe with effect from November 2017, a Cabinet Minister said on Friday.
Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister, Joram Gumbo, told state media that the airport would be known as Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport after the International Civil Aviation Organisation approved the proposed change of names.
“The International Civil Aviation Organisation has approved the change of name. The process has started and by end of November we will have renamed it,’’ Gumbo said.
This would be the second time in post-independent Zimbabwe that an airport has been named after a person.
The first one being Bulawayo Airport which was upgraded from domestic to international and renamed Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport after the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo.
The only other public airport bearing the name of a person is the Mount Hampden Airstrip.
The then Rhodesian government changed its name to Charles Prince Airport in 1978 after Charles Hilton Prince who had worked there between 1958 and 1973 as Air Traffic Controller and airport manager.
Many roads in major urban centres have been named after Mugabe, with even an orphanage at a mission school in Manicaland bearing his name.
Gumbo said the ruling Zanu-PF party had on numerous occasions requested the renaming of the airport after him.
“We think it is a small recognition by the people of Zimbabwe to name the Harare International Airport as the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
“It is something small to recognise his contribution.
“He is a peacemaker. He is an icon for Africa,’’ Gumbo said.