THE Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) on Thursday 23 July 2020 filed an application at the High Court seeking an order to set aside government’s decision to rename some streets in the country’s second largest city as this was illegal.
Government through Local Government, Public Works and National Housing
Minister July Moyo on 17 July 2020 purportedly approved the issuance
of Statutory Instrument 167/20, called Names (Alteration) (Amendment
of Schedule) Notice whose purpose was to alter the names of some
streets or roads in Bulawayo.
The Statutory Instrument stated in its preamble that in exercising his
powers under section 4(1) of the Alteration of Names Act (Chapter
10:14), Moyo had issued a Notice altering the names of certain streets
by amending Part VII of the Act by the repeal of certain names of
roads and substituting them with new ones.
But in an urgent chamber application filed by BPRA represented by Job
Sibanda of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, BPRA argued that Moyo’s
actions in passing Statutory Instrument 167/20 runs counter the clear
provisions of the Alteration of Names Act, are illegal and go against
the grain of what is accepted in a normal society.
BPRA said Moyo did not consider the provisions of section 4(2) of the
Alteration of Names Act, before coming up with the raft of names that
he sought to impose on Bulawayo City Council (BCC), which was also
cited as a respondent to the application and the residents of
BPRA argued that Section 4(2) of the Alteration of Names Act states
that Moyo should not alter any names in terms of subsection (1) unless
he has consulted the owner of the land where the alteration is to take
place of which BCC owns the land that forms the basis of the
BPRA protested that Moyo ignored some proposals made by BCC some time
ago on street name changes and came up with a list of names that are
totally different from the ones the local authority had suggested to
BPRA wants Moyo’s actions and Statutory Instrument 167/20 to be
nullified and to be declared to be of no legal effect whatsoever for
violating section 4(2) of the Alteration of Names Act.
The residents association also wants Statutory Instrument 167/20 to be