THE Bulawayo City Council has spurned demands by secessionist party, Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF), to erect the statue of the late Ndebele king, Mzilikazi KamaTshobana Khumalo, along Robert Mugabe Way and rename the street after the monarch’s name.
BY SILAS NKALA
MLF chairman, David Mpofu told Southern Eye that they had submitted the proposal to the local authority on March 19 this year.
“We wanted to have one of the streets [Robert Mugabe Way] named after Mzilikazi and our late King Mzilikazi statue being erected along the same street. The council told us there is a committee that deals with such issues, but our question is when President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over government, they have removed Mugabe’s portraits from their offices, was it the committee which dealt with that?” he said.
“We are asking if the council has become more powerful than its ratepayers. By right, we residents have power to demand what we want in our city and these issues we took to the council are some of our demands.”
Mpofu said they did not expect the council to block their idea, but hoped it would assist them.
A letter of response dated April 3, 2018 in response to MLF’s request, town clerk, Christopher Dube acknowledged receipt of their letter.
“We would like to advise that the naming of streets is council’s responsibility guided by the names (Alteration) Act Chapter 10:14 and the local authorities circular 4 of 2012 which gives guidelines for the naming and renaming of public features which include government buildings, parastatals, local authority buildings, other official structures and installation and major roads and streets,” he wrote.
“We note that your organisations cannot demand to rename the street, but may submit a proposal through your councillor for consideration. The City of Bulawayo further notes your demand for a statue of King Mzilikazi. We would like to advise you that due to financial constrains, council cannot accede to your demand, but the city would be grateful to receive a donation of the statue.”
Dube said the naming of the streets was dealt with by a naming sub-committee.
He said residents should meet with councillors and submit proposals for names of streets and schools in their suburbs.
He said the names can be of deceased local heroes, historical events, national goals, local aspirations and events, natural features, international events, flora and fauna and numerals.
“Once these have gone through, the street naming committee and are approved, they are submitted to the town lands and planning committee and then to council for approval. These are submitted with recommendations of the Provincial administrator,” he said.
“In the naming/renaming of public feature, no living person may have a public feature named after him/her except the prime minister or international leaders who Cabinet wish to honour. The following categories should comprise an index to be stored in a repository form from which to draw when selecting names, heroes buried at the heroes acre, some of those accorded state funerals and those who made significant contribution to the liberation struggle.”
Dube said local authorities stand guided by Cabinet decisions on the renaming of streets and roads.