Bulawayo City Council has said it will hold public consultations on the need to rename some streets after the country’s heroes and heroines in the spirit of devolution.
This follows a High Court ruling which barred the Local Government ministry from renaming some city streets after President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Local Government Minister July Moyo had issued Statutory Instrument (SI) 167 of 2020 which proposed to rename some streets in Bulawayo, Harare, Kwekwe, Mutare, Chipinge, Bindura, Cheguru and Gweru after Mnangagwa and other personalities.
In Bulawayo, 6th Avenue and 6th Avenue Extension were to be renamed Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Way, according to SI 167/20.
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), however, challenged the legality of the SI arguing that Moyo had violated the Names (Alteration) Act and Urban Councils Act which stipulated that he must consult residents and other stakeholders.
Speaking on the way forward, Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni said the council would engage residents on renaming streets in the spirit of devolution. He said:
_You will notice that our avenues are grid-referenced and this is unique to Bulawayo for ease of reference._
_We had, as council, resolved not to tamper with that. Going forward and in view of the court order obtained by residents, we will work together with government to identify areas of convergence and put the residents of Bulawayo on board through consultations in the spirit of devolution._
Mguni said before the court ruling, Bulawayo had submitted a list of streets that it proposed to rename after the country’s heroes including Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, General Lookout Masuku, Alfred Nikita Mangena, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He added:
_We also suggested corrections on Lobengula Street to King Lobengula Street and to rename a portion of Gwanda Road from Sam Parirenyatwa Street to the Umguza River Bridge to King Mzilikazi Way, among other luminaries that we honoured across the length and breadth of the city._
The central government and local authorities last year clashed over the renaming of roads with the latter arguing that they are entitled to do so since they are the ones responsible for maintenance.