THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has renamed some of the city’s major streets and buildings in a move the local authority says is meant to preserve the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history and heritage of the city.
However, the move could put BCC at loggerheads with Government as it has ignored some street name changes that were effected by Cabinet last November.
Cabinet announced a number of street name changes in the country’s major cities, a development that saw a number of the nation’s heroes both living and dead being honoured.
Council resolved to adopt the street name changes 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.
“Section 274 as read 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 the powers necessary to do so. It is also desirable to preserve the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history and heritage of the local people of Bulawayo and promote national cohesion, healing, peace and tranquility in a devolved unitary state,” reads part of the motion.
The MDC Alliance-led council 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.
In defending this move, Clr Moyo, in her motion, said; “ . . . for sequencing and chronological arrangement of roads and streets within the jurisdiction of the city of Bulawayo local authority area, it is imperative to preserve the numbering of Avenues from First to Fifteenth Avenue as a unique historical feature of Bulawayo’s road network in the Central Business District”.
Other major roads that have been renamed include; Leopold Takawira Avenue (from Samuel Parirenyatwa Street to Umguza River Bridge along Gwanda Road) which is now 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.
Lady Stanley Avenue is now Mama Joanna Mafuyana Avenue, Steeldale Road and Anthony Tylor Road is now Albert Nxele Road, Dundee Drive has been renamed Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu Drive, Fife Street is now Nikita Mangena Street and Fort Street has been renamed Lookout Masuku Street.
Old Khami Road is Sydney Malunga Road, Basch Street is Dumiso Dabengwa Road, Waverley Road is Jairos Jiri Road while Fairbridge has been renamed Erick Bloch Way.
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.
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.
In the Cabinet directive, some of the roads that were supposed to be renamed in Bulawayo include the stretch from Fourth Avenue through to Seventh Street up to George to John Landa Nkomo Avenue, Collenbrander Avenue to Lookout Masuku Avenue, Victoria Falls Road to Mosi-Oa-Tunya Road and Fort Street through to Bellevue Road up to Plumtree Road had been renamed Benjamin Burombo Street.
Local Government and Public works Minister July Moyo could not be reached for comment last night.