MYSTERY surrounds the renaming of Robert Mugabe Way in Kwekwe to ED Mnangagwa Street, with council and the government denying involvement in what seems to be a ploy to erase the late former President’s legacy.
Last year, the Cabinet approved plans to rename roads, places and government buildings across the country, with 10 roads to be named after President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who owns Precabe Farm in Sherwood, near Kwekwe.
Cabinet announced that Enterprise Road (Harare), Sixth Avenue (Bulawayo), A5 Road (Kwekwe), Main Street (Gweru), Chipinge Main Street, Etherton Road (Bindura), Edgar Peacock Road (Mutare), Henry Hartley Road (Chegutu) and Hughes Street in Masvingo would be named after the incumbent President.
Kwekwe mayor Angeline Kasipo yesterday confirmed the renaming of the street, but said councillors were not involved in the development and the matter would be discussed at the next full council meeting.
“Yes, it is true that the street was renamed and there is a sign post on the corner of the street right now. However, we are going to be discussing that matter to see what happened because we do not have a resolution that paved the way for the renaming. So at this stage, what I can say is that a position is going to be made at the next full council meeting to see if that development was regular or not,” Kasipo, who is an MDC Alliance councillor, said.
Information permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana yesterday said it was false that the street had been renamed and refused to shed light on the matter.
“Robert Mugabe Way has not been changed to ED Mnangagwa Street. You have inaccurate information,” he said curtly.
The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has a majority of councillors in Kwekwe City Council.
Kwekwe-based human rights defender Nkosilathi Moyo said the general populace in the city was shocked to see the Robert Mugabe Way being renamed and said it seemed the process was irregular because councillors he spoke to in the city expressed ignorance on the re-naming exercise.
“The people of Kwekwe would feel that their rights were trampled upon because they were not consulted on the re-naming exercise. Besides that, we are shocked as to why the authorities chose to target the street named after the late President Mugabe when there are several others with names of former Rhodesian politicians and some whites from the colonial period,” he said.
Soon after the ED Mnangagwa Street sign post was erected, people took selfie photos of it and posted them on social media platforms venting their anger on the development, saying it was better to leave Mugabe’s sign post intact to preserve his legacy.
They said Mnangagwa should, instead, give the people of Kwekwe jobs because they were suffering under his leadership.
Moyo said people were generally unhappy about the name change.
Efforts to get a comment from Local Government minister July Moyo were unsuccessful as his mobile went unanswered.