BPRA wins Bulawayo street names lawsuit
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has won a High Court order stopping the renaming of Bulawayo street names by the government.
This comes 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 in July 2020, the government, through the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, July Moyo, issued Statutory Instrument 167/20 called Names Altercation (Amendment of Schedule) Notice, whose purpose was to alter the names of some streets and roads in Bulawayo and other parts of the country.
SI 167/20 stated in its preamble that in exercising his powers under section 4 (1) of the Altercation of Names Act Chapter 10:14, the local government 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.
Some of the major street names were to see 6th Avenue Extension becoming Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Way to honour the president.
Other major roads that were to be renamed included: 12th Avenue to Joseph Msika Avenue, Collenbrander Avenue to Lookout Masuku Avenue, 9th Avenue to Simon Vengai Muzenda Avenue and 4th Avenue through to 7th Street up to King George was to be Landa John Nkomo Road.
But BPRA protested that local government had ignored some proposals made by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) some time ago yet it came up with a list of names that are totally different from the ones the local authority had suggested.
In an interview with CITE, BPRA’s legal representative Job Sibanda of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) confirmed that Justice Max Takuva had set aside SI 167/20.
“That instrument that sought to rename street names in Bulawayo was set aside by Judge Takuva, as argued by the applicant BPRA. This means SI 167 /20 will not alter and substitute names of streets or roads in Bulawayo as depicted in the said instrument,” he said.
The order also noted that the first respondent – the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, shall pay the cost of BPRA’s application.
In their argument, BPRA had also noted that the local government in passing SI 167/20 countered the clear provisions of the Alteration of Names Cat of certain streets was illegal and went against the grain of what is accepted in normal society
BPRA argued that Moyo failed to 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 BCC, which was also cited as a respondent to the application.
“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 alteration,” read BPRA’s application.
Connaught Avenue will be now Cephas Cele Avenue, 5th Avenue was to be renamed Maria Msika Avenue, 10th Avenue to Nikita Mangena Avenue and 3rd Avenue to Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu Avenue.
Fife Street through to Bellevue Road up to Plumtree Road was to be Benjamin Burombo Street, 23rd Avenue to Jairos Jiri Avenue and Victoria Falls Road was to be renamed Mosi-Oa-Tunya Road and 11th Avenue to Daniel Madzimbamuto Avenue.
The people sha govern. Bulawayo deserves better. Justice must prevail where pockets of it still remain. The rule of law not of man!