GOVERNMENT has renamed Fourth Street in Harare and Main Street in Bulawayo as Simon Vengai Muzenda and Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo streets respectively in honour of the two liberation icons.
In a notice published in the Government Gazette of January 23 2015, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo said the name changes had been made in terms of the Schedule of Names (Alteration) Act Chapter 10:14.
The late Muzenda and Nkomo served as President Robert Mugabe’s deputies from the 1980s.
Muzenda was Deputy Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987, and Vice-President from 1987 to the time of his death in 2003, while Nkomo became Vice-President from 1987, to the time of his death in 1999. Nkomo had also briefly served as Cabinet minister from 1980.
Nkomo’s statue was erected along Bulawayo’s Main Street in 2013.
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni yesterday said although council had not been consulted over the latest development, they nonetheless welcomed it as it had been done in accordance with the law.
“This time around, they acted in accordance with the law by gazetting the names. This is unlike what they did at that playground where Zanu PF held its congress last December where they just put up signposts without following the correct procedure,” Manyenyeni said, insisting that the ruling party should pull down its unsanctioned Robert Mugabe Square and Dr Grace Mugabe Way signposts in Harare.
“I wrote to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo soon after their party congress advising him to pull down the signposts and he has not come back to me and I believe the signposts are still there,” Manyenyeni said.
The council said the open space was renamed Robert Mugabe Square without the city fathers’ consent.
According to the Urban Councils Act Section 212 (1), the naming of roads and streets within council areas remains the prerogative of local authorities. The section reads: “The council may from time to time assign names to roads within the council area and cause the name of any road to be affixed to or painted on any house, building or other structure fronting upon any part of such road.”