BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO mayor Solomon Mguni says the local authority was not consulted on the renaming of the city’s streets while the opposition MDC denounced the move as gross arrogance by central government.
The government last Thursday announced the renaming of the country’s streets.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has at least eight streets named after him across the country.
In Bulawayo, Emmerson Mnangagwa Avenue, formerly 6th Avenue, attracted a butt of jokes from locals as it conjoins with Robert Mugabe Street.
The late Mugabe was toppled by the army in November 2017 and was replaced by Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa has been accused of copying from his predecessor’s rule book by naming streets after him and is likely to face opposition from the MDC controlled Bulawayo council.
Mguni said it was not the role of central government to rename streets but it was the responsibility of council.
“They never consulted the council,” he said. “It is the duty of local authorities not government to rename the streets.”
MDC Bulawayo deputy spokesperson Mbuso Siso said the move by government displayed gross arrogance by the central government. Siso said it also betrayed government’s insincerity on the need to implement devolution as guaranteed in the constitution.
“It is criminal and disrespectful of the illegitimate Mnangagwa and his cabinet to bully cities countrywide especially for a city like Bulawayo before consulting residents when he has issues affecting the city such as Gukurahundi,” he said.
“What has Mnangagwa done for this country and Matabeleland as a whole to deserve a street in Bulawayo named after him?
“We say no to the renaming of streets. “It is very clear that the Zanu PF government does not respect us; it is also a clear sign that they are not willing to ensure devolution is fully implemented.”
Mnangagwa last month when opening the second session of Parliament proposed 28 Bills and but not even one touches on the need to operationalise devolution of power.
Devolution is provided for under Chapter 12 of the 2013 constitution with section 268 of the charter providing for the establishment of provincial councillors in the country’s provinces.
But there has been little movement to operationalise it. In Harare the government renamed Enterprise Road after Mnangagwa.