The City of Kings fathers have ignored cabinet suggestions on road renaming after assigning street names in honor of the local pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history and heritage of the city.
Last year, the cabinet announced and effected the renaming of a number of streets in the country’s major cities.
The move that saw a number of traditional roads in koBulawayo being changed to accommodate a number of national heroes both living and dead.
However, the move was allegedly not welcomed by Bulawayo residents who preferred their local heroes being honored and the sequencing and chronological arrangement of roads and streets within the jurisdiction of the city of Bulawayo local authority area be maintained as before in order to preserve a unique historical feature of Bulawayo’s road network in the Central Business District and the city’s famous historical significance in the country.
Raised by the concerned city dwellers, the motion to stick to the numbered format for the Avenues in the CBD from First to 15TH Avenue was also moved by their councilors, who, according to the terms of the Urban Councils Act, have the powers to name, re-name, alter or change names of streets and buildings.
“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,” said ward 17 councillor, Sikhululekile Moyo, addressing the city fathers on the issue.
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.
Other major roads that have now been renamed include:
To hournour his Highness KING Mzilikazi, Leopold Takawira Avenue – from Samuel Parirenyatwa Street to Umguza River Bridge along Gwanda Road – KING Mzilikazi Road.
Lobengula Street to KING Lobengula Street
Nketa Drive to QUEEN Lozikheyi Dlodlo Drive
Moffat Road in Hillside to Robert Moffat Drive
Leander Road in Hillside to Dr Leander Star Jameson
Coghlan Avenue to Charles Patrick Coghlan Avenue
Cecil Avenue to Cecil John Rhodes Avenue
Athlone Avenue to Simon Vengai Muzenda Road
23RD Avenue to John Landa Nkomo Road
Lady Stanley Avenue to Mama Joanna Mafuyana Avenue
Steeldale Road and Anthony Tylor Road to Albert Nxele Road
Dunde Drive to Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu Drive
Fife Street to Nikita Mangena Street
Fort Street to Lookout Masuku Street
Old Khami Road to Sydney Malunga Road
Basch Street to Dumiso Dabengwa Road
Waverley Road to Jairos Jiri Road
Fairbridge to Erick Bloch Way
Hillside Road to Sir Garfield Todd Road
Van Riebeck Road to Joseph Msika Drive
Connaught Avenue to Cephas Cele Avenue
Collenbrander Road to Daniel Madzimbamuto Road
Manchester Road to George Nyandoro Road
Vera Road to Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu Road
Birkenhead Road to Sikanjaya Muntanga Road
Doncaster Road to Maria Msika Road
Phelandaba Clinic has also been renamed to Thenjiwe Lesabe Clinic in recognition of the late former Zipra Liberation Stalwart.
Stanley Hall in Makhokhoba has also been changed to Liberation Legacy Square for its role in hosting political meetings during the liberation struggle.
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.”
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.