TRANSPORT Communication and Infrastructure Development minister Obert Mpofu on Sunday pleaded with the people of Bulawayo to reciprocate the “love” President Robert Mugabe has shown them.
Speaking during the commissioning of the new Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport terminal building in Bulawayo, Mpofu said Mugabe had shown his love of the city by pushing for development projects.
“Today Bulawayo has been honoured,” he said. “The president loves Bulawayo and we must also show him love.
“It must not be one-sided love, but we must meet halfway with him and I know you know what I mean.”
Mpofu, who is also Zanu PF politburo member and MP for Umguza, said Mugabe had emphasised to him the need to complete the airport project, which had been ongoing for the past decade.
Bulawayo has rejected Mugabe and his Zanu PF party since MDC started participating in elections in 2000.
In 2010, it was revealed that Mpofu was in the habit of signing off letters to Mugabe as “your ever obedient son”.
The 62-year-old former Matabeleland North governor defended his behaviour saying he was proud to be born to people who liberated this country.
Meanwhile, the MDC led by Welshman Ncube has complained about Zanu PF activists who were putting on their party’s regalia at events to honour Nkomo’s legacy in the city on Sunday.
Zanu PF supporters attending the commissioning of the airport building and the unveiling of Nkomo’s statue turned up in their party’s regalia much to the chagrin of opposition parties.
MDC chairman for Matabeleland South, Pilate Ndebele, said Zanu PF hijacked what should have been national events.
“I was there when the unveiling of Nkomo statue was done,” he said. “But I was disappointed to note that Zanu PF relegated Nkomo into a party person by allowing over 60% of their members to attend the function which should be regarded with national perspective, in party regalia, thereby portraying him as only important to Zanu PF.
“Most of us from Matabeleland South know what Nkomo said when he was alive.
“He said when he died he should be buried at his home in Kezi though what happened was not what he stated as he now lies in Harare at the Heroes’ Acre.
“It is known that many people who were led by Nkomo were killed by the Zanu PF government in the 1980s for being Nkomo supporters.
“Just imagine what they would feel if they were to wake up only to find the same party regalia used at their leader’s honorary functions!” Ndebele added.
Mugabe also chanted Zanu PF slogans during the event and used the unveiling of the statue to attack MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.