The government yesterday said it was hoping to have completed the process of renaming the Harare International Airport to Robert Mugabe International Airport in honour of the 93-year-old Zanu PF leader, by November this year.
“I have made the request to Cabinet for approval to initiate the process and it was approved. So I am already engaging the stakeholders locally and internationally. We should be through by November,” Transport minister Joram Gumbo said.
It is understood that a Notice to Airmen, also known as Notam, was recently issued informing pilots and operators worldwide that Harare International Airport will be referred to as Robert Mugabe International Airport effective from November 9, 2017.
Notam is a written notification issued to pilots advising them of circumstances relating to the state of flying.
Mugabe, who already has several roads, buildings and bridges named after him, will also have a $1 billion State-funded university named after him at his private property in Mazowe.
This came after Mugabe’s birthday, February 21, was declared a public holiday amid lobbying by Zanu PF youths.
Gumbo said there was nothing amiss in naming the airport after Mugabe, whom he described as a war hero, empowerment and African icon whose history and legacy should be preserved by giving him such an honour.
“If you see his contribution to the liberation struggle, education and empowerment of the people of Zimbabwe and Africa, you will see that he has a rich legacy that has to be preserved and his history should not be erased even as people visit our country,” Gumbo said.
The process of renaming the airport, according to Gumbo, involves informing the international aviation industry so that codes are changed to reflect the name change.
Government would also gazette the changes to officially give effect to the airport’s new name.