By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has lashed out as President Emmerson Mnangagwa, describing his government’s renaming of many streets after the national leader as a desperate attempt to immortalise himself.
Siphosami Malunga, son to late national hero, Sydney Malunga also said Mnangagwa did not deserve any honour in Bulawayo for visiting Gukurahundi atrocities that killed 20 000 civilians in the region.
Several streets in Harare, Bulawayo and other towns and cities in the country were renamed after Mnangagwa, a leader who has become unpopular with his people over both his show of profligacy and failure to tame a rampaging economy that has reduced the average citizen to a pauper.
Mutambara, who was Deputy Prime Minister during the country’s short-lived unity administration of 2009-2013, described Mnangagwa as both incompetent and intent on immortalising himself.
“An incompetent Mnangagwa wants to immortalise himself. All the other name changes are to cover up this wicked ambition,” Mutambara said in a short statement.
“Whether he falls or prevails, he wants immortality. Zimbabweans will be calling his name in 8 cities every day, forever.
“That is the ‘big idea’ while the country degenerates into unprecedented political and economic mayhem. How low can you sink?”
Malunga added his displeasure over the controversial renaming of an “obscure” Gweru street after his late father.
“The naming of obscure Arglye Road I know nothing about in Gweru after my father by the Zimbabwe cabinet is actually not a due honour to him,” he said.
“He fought the struggle from Matabeleland, spent many years as MP first in Matabeleland North, then Mpopoma, then Makokoba. His ‘people’ were there.
“Instead of naming 6th Avenue after ED, it should have been named after one of the Matabeleland and ZAPU liberation struggle heroes possibly my father or Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku, Nikita Mangena, Ethan Dube et al.
“What did ED ever do for Matabeleland besides Gukurahundi? Just because Mugabe named the main road after himself does not make it right. These people must respect us.”
Opposition ZAPU party said the renaming of the streets was being done at a time Zanu PF should be sitting down to find solutions to myriad problems confronting the country.
“Instead, the leadership chose to guzzle scarce state resources on a renaming spree that also has massive transition costs which the ailing economy can’t afford right now,” ZAPU said in a statement.
“What is more appalling about this whole process besides the timing and costs is the nature with which the name selection process has been handled.
“It all appears that it’s a greedy and corrupt process only meant to personalise every facet of Zimbabwe in the names of Zanu PF’s elite.
“The dictatorial tendencies of the current administration of Emmerson Mnangagwa have become so apparent he is quickly making former president Robert Mugabe look like a saint.”