ZANU PF legislator for Mutare South, Fred Kanzama, yesterday introduced a motion in Parliament proposing that notorious prisons be renamed in honour of leaders such as President Robert Mugabe.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Although the motion was welcomed by MPs across the political divide, MDC-T MPs said there was no need to name different places with names of one leader, as it would become monotonous.
Kanzama’s motion seeks to have former detention centres like Hwahwa Prison, Sikhombela and Gonakudzingwa accorded recognition as monuments in honour of Mugabe, the late Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and many others who were jailed at those prisons during the liberation struggle.
“Ignoring this call is tantamount to ignoring the history of Zimbabwe, and these former detention centres should be turned into cultural sites,” Kanzama said.
“The US and South Africa have implemented this and some notorious prisons like Robben Island are now national monuments and have become tourist attractions,” he said.
Seconding the motion, Uzumba MP Simbaneuta Mudarikwa said some of the detained leaders used to sleep on wire mesh, in prisons with no running water and they deserved to have those prisons named after them.
Magwegwe MP Felix Magalela Sibanda said the motion should be expanded to include renaming of prisons all over the country like Khami Prison, Harare Central Prison and others.
“If you do not talk of other prisons like Khami Prison, you might have forgotten the liberation perspective of torture and genocide where people like Lookout Masuku, Dumiso Dabengwa and I were tortured,” he said.
Gwanda North MP Thandeko Mnkandhla said if implemented properly this would go a long way in unifying “a polarised country”.
“Let us shut out partisan feelings when doing this, otherwise it would be an exercise in futility,” Mnkandhla said.
Glen Norah MP Gift Dzirutwe said there were many places already named after people like Nkomo and Mugabe and there was no need for using the same names.
“We cannot have everything named after these people. We have other heroes whose names need to be used and it becomes tedious if we have Joshua Mqabuko Airport and a prison or road named after the same person,” he said.
Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure said it was disappointing that 33 years down the line departments of National Monuments had not thought of changing names of the notorious prisons.
“It means we do not have technocrats in those departments,” Madzimure said.