BY STEPHEN CHADENGA A PROPOSAL to grant President Emmerson Mnangagwa freedom of the city status has divided Gweru city councillors, Southern Eye has learnt.
Councillors are arguing over the criteria used to bestow such honour, which they say was not clear.
Southern Eye understands that Council managers proposed to give Mnangagwa the honour during a full council meeting on Wednesday.
The issue was also included in the minutes of the deliberations, although the minutes did not explain the reasons why the President must be given the honour.
“We have item 123 which points to giving President Mnangagwa the freedom of the city of Gweru,” the city mayor Hamutendi Kombayi, who was chairing the meeting, said.
Councillor Edison Kurebgaseka (ward 9) said there was nothing wrong in granting Mnangagwa the status, adding that the honour would come with some benefits.
“We should set politics aside, and l think there is nothing amiss in granting President Mnangagwa the honour. After all, Mnangagwa is from the Midlands province and we could, as a council benefit in some service delivery issues affecting us including roads and water challenges,” Kurebgaseka said.
But councillor Josiah Makombe disagreed, saying the issue needed to be deliberated on in council chambers to ensure there is clarity on why Mnangagwa should be bestowed that honour.
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“We can’t just rush to adopt the proposal. There is need for a special meeting to discuss this issue. It’s just a recommendation coming from management and it’s not clear,” he said.
Makombe’s sentiments were seconded by councillors Trust Chinene (ward 15) and Tawanda Magidi (ward 16).
The proposal attracted heated debate among councillors, who then failed to agree on the way forward.
In 2020 when Victoria Falls was declared a city, Mnangagwa was awarded freedom of the city with the local authority saying it was recognising his contribution to the resort town’s transformation.Follow Stephen on Twitter @jagganox78