The High Court of Zimbabwe has blocked President Emmerson Mnangagwa from renaming 6th Avenue in Bulawayo after himself.
The street was to be renamed Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Way.
The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works had through Statutory Instrument 167 of 2020 ordered municipalities in Bulawayo, Harare, Chipinge, Gweru, Masvingo, Bindura, Chegutu, Kwekwe, Mutare to have roads named after Mnangagwa, and several other suggested liberation personalities.
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) then sued Local Government Minister July Moyo and the city council last year resulting in Justice Max Takuva denying the president that honour.
Justice Takuva observed that the imposition of street names on the local authority without consultations was unlawful. Takuva ruled:
To the extent that Statutory Instrument 167/20 purports to alter and substitute certain names as depicted therein, in Bulawayo the same is null and void and of no legal effect whatsoever for violating Section 4 (2) of the Alteration of Names Act Chapter 10:14.
BPRA lawyer Job Sibanda applauded the verdict but admitted government could still appeal.
Justice Takuva granted the order setting aside that Statutory Instrument pertaining to Bulawayo. The relief only applies to the renaming of streets in Bulawayo.
Under the rejected directive, the government had also changed:
- 9th Avenue to Simon Muzenda Avenue,
- 8th Avenue to Liberation Legacy Avenue,
- 12th Avenue to become Joseph Msika Avenue.
- 4th Avenue to John Landa Avenue,
- 5th Avenue to Maria Msika Avenue,
- 1st Avenue to Lazarus Nkala Avenue,
- 10th Avenue to Nikita Mangena Avenue,
- 3rd Avenue to Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu Avenue while
- 11th Avenue to Daniel Madzimbamuto Avenue.
The measure to rename streets had faced resistance from local government authorities who argued that the streets were within their jurisdictions.
Analysts had argued that the central government and councils should compete in refurbishing those roads than putting names on them.
Alex Tawanda Magaisa had said the government could have used the opportunity to be inclusive adding “a more inclusive list might have had a better reception even if people had reservations over the timing and relevance…”