Zimbabwe’s main international airport in the capital was renamed for longtime leader Robert Mugabe on Thursday, with the transport minister saying it would “ensure his legacy lives forever.”
Harare international airport will now be called Robert Gabriel Mugabe international airport.
“This renaming is a way his legacy lives forever. He has to be remembered by everyone who comes to Zimbabwe today and forever,” Transport Minister Joram Gumbo told dpa.
Last month the cash-strapped government announced that it had set aside 1 billion dollars to build a Mugabe university, and that his birthday – on which lavish parties are always thrown – would be a public holiday.
Many major roads are already named after Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for more than three decades.
Zimbabweans took to social media to poke fun at the 93-year-old’s naming penchant.
“His excellency president Robert Gabriel Mugabe … arrived at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe international airport, awaiting a flight on Robert Gabriel Mugabe airways after a tiresome afternoon of capping graduates at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe university that is situated along Robert Gabriel Mugabe way,” one message being circulated on Facebook said.
While there are many airports around the world named after leaders, such as JFK in New York and OR Tambo in Johannesburg, Mugabe has been accused by critics of corruption, rights abuses and driving the economy into the ground.
And there is now opposition in his party’s ranks, with Mugabe on Monday sacking his powerful deputy, accusing him of wanting to replace him.
“It might a temporary name given the turmoil in his camp,” analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said of the airport name.