HomeLocal NewsFreedom of the city for Tsvangirai

Freedom of the city for Tsvangirai

-

PRIME MINISTER Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Thokozani Khupe are set to be granted the Freedom of the City by the Bulawayo City Council this year, NewsDay learnt yesterday.

REPORT BY NDUDUZO TSHUMA

According to council sources, councillors met on Monday to discuss the honours and Water Resources Management and Development minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo had also been shortlisted for the prestigious award.

But Sipepa Nkomo’s name was reportedly dropped at the instigation of Khupe who argued that the minister was too junior.

“A motion was moved last week that Tsvangirai, Khupe and SipepaNkomo be granted Freedom of the City,” said a councillor who requested to remain anonymous.

“The development was communicated by Mayor Thaba Moyo to the Office of the Prime Minister, Khupe and Sipepa Nkomo.

“However, on Monday when councillors met, it was said that Khupe had expressed reservations over the granting of the honour to Sipepa Nkomo, arguing that he was too junior.

“We heard that Khupe had raised the matter arguing that although Sipepa Nkomo had pushed the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline project, the project belonged to, and was funded by government and not the minister.”

The councillors were reportedly divided on the proposal to drop Sipepa Nkomo’s name from the list and a compromise was reached that the minister would be granted the honour next year.

However, this is not guaranteed because the councillors’ term of office ends this year with elections looming.

Some councillors were reportedly not happy with the decision to snub Sipepa Nkomo, arguing that he had been in politics longer than Khupe.

“Sipepa Nkomo got into politics way before Khupe and he was among other PF Zapu members jailed for more than 14 years during the days of the liberation war,” a source said.

“Before that, he was a member of the National Democratic Party.

“He also was instrumental in the construction of the Entumbane shopping complex, terminus and flea market. The flea market and terminus was donated to the Bulawayo City Council.”

Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo confirmed that Tsvangirai and Khupe were lined up for the Freedom of the City honours, but refused to comment on allegations that council had succumbed to political pressure to drop Sipepa Nkomo’s name.

“I know there is an issue like that, it is still being looked into and was referred to the committee that deals with civic awards,” he said.

“The problem is that you want to phone me when you already know things, yet I am the one who is supposed to tell you.

“I will not comment about the other things you have raised because it is not my duty to do that.”

Sipepa Nkomo said he had not been notified of the nomination by yesterday afternoon.

Khupe yesterday skirted questions on the matter only saying she “would gladly” accept the honour.

She did not respond to questions about Sipepa Nkomo.

The MDC-T-controlled council has not held any civic awards, which must be an annual event, since it came into office in 2008.

In 2010, the awards were suspended indefinitely after councillors proposed to give the late Vice-President John Nkomo and were reportedly blocked by the MDC-T leadership in the city.

Observers say the councillors can either grant Nkomo the honour posthumously or leave it to be dealt with by the next council.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading