A High Court judge has blocked Zimbabwe’s plan to rename streets in Bulawayo including 6th Avenue after sitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
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.
Instead, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) sued Local Government Minister July Moyo and the city council in 2020 after government gazetted a measure directing all major cities and towns to rename streets in honour past and present national heroes.
Justice Max Takuva observed that the imposition of street names on the local authority without consultations is 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 commended the judgement but admitted Government could still appeal.
Justice Takuva granted the order setting aside 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 faced resistance from local government authorities who argued that the streets were within their jurisdictions. Many argued that the central government and councils should compete the rehabilitation of the roads rather than changing their names.
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