Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has set itself in a collision course with the central government after taking a decision to rename the city’s major streets after fallen heroes and heroines from the region, ignoring a recent government directive to the same effect.
The Urban Councils Act gives local authorities the mandate to rename streets within their jurisdictions.
In November last year, Cabinet renamed some of the streets in the city, a decision which riled a cross section of people who felt some of the country`s heroes and heroines from the region had not been properly honoured.
The city fathers also criticised the move arguing that they were not consulted as the custodians of the city.
The motion to rename the streets was moved by ward 17 Councilor, Sikhululekile Moyo who said this is meant to preserve the city’s legacy.
“Section 274 as reads with section 276 of the constitution constitutes, establishes and confers authority on urban local authorities to represent and manage the affairs of people in urban areas throughout Zimbabwe. A local authority has the right to govern, on its own initiative, the local affairs of people within the area for which it has been established, and has all powers necessary to do so,” reads part of the motion.
In renaming the roads in the Central Business District, the city fathers approved to preserve the old sequencing arrangements.
“For sequencing and chronological arrangements of the roads and streets within the jurisdiction of the City, of Bulawayo local authority area, it is imperative to preserve the numbering of Avenues from the first to Fifteenth Avenue as unique historic feature of Bulawayo’s roads network in the Central Business District”.
The government had changed some of the avenues in honour of some of the country`s liberation luminaries and prominent figures.
First avenue had been renamed Lazarus Nkala avenue, Fifth Avenue was now Maria Msika Avenue, Sixth Avenue as Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Avenue and Eighth Avenue was renamed Liberation Legacy Avenue, among others.
The major roads which have been renamed by the local authority include Leopold Takawira Avenue which was renamed King Mzilikazi Road, Nketa Drive is now Queen Lozikheyi Dlodlo Drive, Athlone Avenue is Simon Vengai Muzenda Road and 23rd Avenue is Landa John Nkomo Road.
Basch Street is Dumiso Dabengwa Road, Old Khami Road is Sydney Malunga Road, Waverley Road is Jairos Jiri Road while Fairbridge has been renamed Erick Bloch way.
Lady Stanley Avenue is now Mama Joanna Mafuyana Avenue, Steeldale Road and Anthony Tylor Road is now Albert Nxele Road, Dunde Drive has been renamed Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu drive.
Fife Street is now Nikita Mangena street and Fort Street has been renamed Look Out Masuku Street.
Other roads renamed are Hillside Road which is now Sir Garfield Todd Road, Van Riebeck Road is Joseph Msika Drive, Connaught Avenue is Cephas Cele Avenue, Collenbrander Road is Daniel Madzimbamuto Road, Manchester Road is now George Nyandoro Road, Vera Road is now Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu Road, Birkenhead Road has been renamed Sikanjaya Muntanga Road and Doncaster Road is now Maria Msika Road.
Meanwhile, other roads had their names corrected and these include: Coghlan Avenue which is now Charles Patrick Coghlan Avenue and Cecil Avenue which is now Cecil John Rhodes Avenue.
The Local Authority also renamed some City’s halls and clinics.
“Pelandaba clinic has been renamed Thenjiwe Lesabe Clinic in recognition of the late former ZIPRA liberation stalwart.