By Bulawayo Correspondent
POLITICAL parties and pressure groups in Bulawayo have reacted angrily to cabinet’s decision Thursday to rename city roads, moreso, with apparent signs the Emmerson Mnangagwa led administration was not keen on giving prominence to their heroes.
In Bulawayo, the stretch from 4th Avenue through to 7th Street and up to King George, has been renamed after late former Vice President John Landa Nkomo.
Colenbrander Avenue is now Lookout Masuku Avenue and Victoria Falls Road is now Mosi-Oa-Tunya Road while 6th avenue has been renamed Emmerson Mnangagwa Road.
MDC Alliance Bulawayo spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza said cabinet’s controversial decision was in contravention of the Urban Councils Act.
“Section 212 (1) of the Urban Councils Act is clear that local authorities have the right to name and change street names. It is not the function of cabinet to do that. Zimbabwe’s broken roads need fixing not renaming,” said Chirowodza.
The MDC spokesperson also questioned the naming of peripheral city roads after late former ZIPRA cadres Lookout Masuku while honouring ex-Zanla combatants with street names in the Central Business District (CBD).
“Most ZIPRA cadres have not been honoured with street names in the (CBD). For example, the late Lt General Lookout Masuku, who was incarcerated during the time Emmerson Mnangagwa was the Minister of State Security, has been honoured with a street name in a suburb called North End. This is far from the CBD,” said Chirowodza.
Ibhetshu Likazulu leader, Mbuso Fuzwayo said renaming the streets by central government was a diversion on the ruthless crackdown on MDC supporters by anti-riot police in Harare Wednesday.
“This so-called new dispensation is good at diverting people’s attention in the wake of several challenges affecting the country,” he said.
“They choose to rename a street on the periphery and leading to the cemetery, after Lookout Masuku, which is an insult to his role.
“It is clear that they were not willing to honour anyone who is not a member of Zanu PF. As for the Emmerson Mnangagwa street, people are not comfortable with that.”
Fuzwayo said the residents in the predominantly Ndebele city had proposed to rename some streets in the city after late ZAPU heroes such as Dumiso Dabengwa, Welshman Mabhena, Thenjiwe Lesabe.
ZAPU Southern Region Director of Communications, Patrick Ndlovu said cabinet’s decision showed that there was serious need for devolution in the country.
“As usual, cabinet has overstepped its mandate,” he said.
“The local government authorities are the ones with the mandate to change street names. Once again, this ignorance on the part of the cabinet displays the urgent need to implement devolution. Anyway, why change road names instead of fixing the potholes on those roads.”