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Row over Bulawayo street renaming after Ndebele kings only

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By Bulawayo Correspondent


DESCENDANTS of the newly revived Mambo Dynasty have clashed with the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) over the local authority’s recent decision to rename some of the city’s streets and suburbs in honour of Ndebele kings while ignoring other kings who lived in the city before colonisation.

BCC last month renamed some of the city’s major streets and buildings in a move the local authority says was meant to preserve the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history and heritage of the country’s second capital.

But the move has apparently angered descendants of the Lozwi kingdom which existed in the area before the arrival of King Mzilikazi.

The clan recently installed Mike Moyo (50) as its king in an effort to revive their kingship.

Moyo argues that the recent renaming of some council roads and buildings is not a true historical reflection of the city as it side-lines other pre-colonial Kings.

“We are calling on national government to intervene and reverse this diabolical process or we are going to pull down the new King Lobengula Street plaques in demonstration of our anger.

“We are giving the authorities 21 days to reverse this process, a deadline which if not met, we are going to hold a protest march to the City Hall,” Moyo said Tuesday.

The Lozwi monarch claimed repeated efforts to engage the Bulawayo City Council over the issue has yielded nothing as the city fathers have allegedly refused to entertain their concerns.

“The council was invidious in that they ignored our requests to have a meeting with them in 2018 and 2019 over this same process.

“We approached the mayor and he agreed that we should meet to discuss the issue but then he went behind our backs and decided on new street names without making any consultations,” claimed Moyo.

He said the local authority was supposed to have consulted several stakeholders before coming up with the new names.

“They talk of preserving Bulawayo’s founding and colonial history but they fail to recognise the fact that there were settlements around the city that also deserve to be recognised.

“They simply ignored and failed to make consultations even now when they decided to go ahead with their process which was not inclusive,” said Moyo.

The Lozwi monarch further argued that several Ndebele icons have already been honoured through renaming them after suburbs, schools and art centres.

“We do not see why one of the Lozwi Kings should not have the Mzilikazi Street named after him. We have been subject to colonisation first by Mzilikazi and then the whites.

“Mzilikazi oppressed us, creating a caste system in which the Nguni were regarded as first class citizens while those incorporated along the way were in the second strata and our people that he found here were in the lowest rung, being referred to as amahole (outsiders),” added Moyo.

Bulawayo City Council Mayor, Solomon Mguni could not be reached for comment.