ZIMBABWE’S war veterans, once a powerful constituency of former president Robert Mugabe, have asked that government renames the country’s main airport, the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, in Harare.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Secretary General of the group, Victor Matemadanda, said the deposed president had shown traits of traitor in the run up to the July 30 elections.
‘We are going to demand the removal of Robert Mugabe’s name from the international airport in Harare. We are going to Harare international airport to demand the removal of Mugabe’s dirty name. Airport cannot be named after a last minute traitor.’
Spotting scarves with the picture of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the group also addressed issues relating to the just ended presidential polls, insisting the president had won an indisputable first round victory.
‘The international community led by America are saying this election was not run properly, condemning ZEC. Now they want the courts to say this was wrong or right. We will not let America run this country. The president-elect won by 50.8 percent, full stop,’ Matemadanda added.
He went on to take a swipe at the main opposition candidate, Nelson Chamisa, who he said was a dictator. Chamisa came second in presidential polls with over 44 percent of votes according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
He led the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance into the polls. The party has filed a court challenge to the result. Hearing commences on Wednesday. They are asking for the vote to be annulled, citing irregularities.
In a related development, Zimbabwe says Western hostility towards the country is deterring investment, in sharp contrast with efforts by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to woo Western governments.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba told Reuters in email response to questions about investor concerns over elections that of concern to investors, is the continued hostility of the West, especially the United States.
Charamba said delays caused by the opposition’s court challenge to Mnangagwa’s election victory were also putting off investors.
Economists say for the southern African nation to revive its struggling economy, it needs to clear its arrears with Western donors and agree a financing programme with the IMF.
But Charamba said Western states were preventing that. He said despite these attempts, Zimbabwe has good relations with Southern African governments and the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) states.