Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council is waiting for Government approval on their own individual street name changes after the High Court ruled that they cannot adhere to the names that were effected through a Statutory Instrument.
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) recently won a High Court order stopping the renaming of Bulawayo street names by the Government. This was after BPRA filed an urgent chamber application last year seeking to set aside the Government’s decision to rename some streets in Bulawayo without the residents’ input.
Last year, the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Cde July Moyo gazetted Statutory Instrument 167 of 2020 which effectively confirmed the Government proposed street names in the country, a development that saw a number of the nation’s heroes both living and dead being honoured.
The MDC-Alliance dominated local authority, reacted to the proposed street name changes by passing a counter resolution of their own to rename some of the major roads and buildings in what they said was meant to preserve the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history and heritage of the city.
BCC corporate communications manager Mrs Nesisa Mpofu on Friday said after the High Court judgment the council has since written to the Government informing them of the council seconded names and were waiting for their consent.
“The Council resolution was communicated to the Government and Council is waiting for a response,” said Mrs Mpofu.
According to the council resolution, the move was endorsed by councillors following a motion that was tabled by Ward 17 Councillor, Sikhululekile Moyo. In her motion, Clr Moyo noted that in terms of the Urban Councils Act, councillors have the powers to name, re-name, alter or change names of streets and buildings.
The local authority resolved to stick to the numbered format for Avenues in the CBD from First to 15th Avenue.
Cabinet had renamed some of the Avenues, with Sixth Avenue being renamed — Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Way in honour of the President.
However, councillors chose to honour the President by renaming George Avenue (from Harare Road to Old Esigodini Road) — Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Avenue.
Other major roads that have been renamed by council include; Leopold Takawira Avenue (from Samuel Parirenyatwa Street to Umguza River Bridge along Gwanda Road) to King Mzilikazi Road, Nketa Drive renamed Queen Lozikeyi Dlodlo Drive, Athlone Avenue renamed Simon Vengai Muzenda Road and 23rd Avenue is Landa John Nkomo Road.
Lady Stanley Avenue was renamed Mama Joanna MaFuyana Avenue, Steeldale Road and Anthony Taylor Road renamed Albert Nxele Road, Dundee Drive was renamed Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu Drive, Fife Street, Nikita Mangena Street and Fort Street renamed Lookout Masuku Street. Old Khami Road was renamed Sydney Malunga Road, Basch Street, Dumiso Dabengwa Road, Waverley Road, Jairos Jiri Road while Fairbridge was renamed Eric Bloch Way.
Other roads renamed are Hillside Road to Sir Garfield Todd Road, Van Riebeck Road to Joseph Msika Drive, Connaught Avenue, Cephas Cele Avenue, Collenbrander Road, Daniel Madzimbamuto Road, Manchester Road, George Nyandoro Road, Vera Road, Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu Road, Birkenhead Road renamed Sikanjaya Muntanga Road and Doncaster Road to Maria Msika Road.
Lobengula Street has been corrected to King Lobengula Street, together with Moffat Road in Hillside which has been corrected to Robert Moffat Drive and Leander Road in Hillside which is now Dr Leander Star Jameson.
Other roads that have been corrected are Coghlan Avenue which is now Charles Patrick Coghlan Avenue and Cecil Avenue which is now Cecil John Rhodes Avenue
In defending the move to keep a number of colonial era names, Clr Moyo argued that this was meant to; “…preserve the richness of Bulawayo’s founding and colonial history.”
The councillors also resolved to rename Stanley Hall in Makokoba and Pelandaba Clinic.
“Stanley Hall in Makokoba has been renamed Liberation Legacy Square for its role in hosting political meetings during the liberation struggle. The hall will have paintings of men and women who played a role in the liberation of Zimbabwe.
“Pelandaba Clinic has been renamed Thenjiwe Lesabe Clinic in recognition of the late former Zipra liberation stalwart,” reads part of the motion.