President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has ordered that a street in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city, be named after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of his state visit later this month.
On April 29, President Kenyatta will open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.
According to a private report from the Bulawayo City Council, members were concerned about the short notice given to the local authorities to identify the street, and were concerned that the decision would be legally contested if people were not consulted.
July Moyo, the Minister of Local Government, warned the council that it needed to “address this situation with the urgency it merits.”
President Kenyatta will also plant a tree during his visit, according to the ministry, and the council has been directed to identify a spot for the tree.
Last year, Zimbabwe’s High Court dismissed a government decree to rename many highways in Bulawayo after heroes of the country’s liberation war in the 1970s. President Mnangagwa was to have one of the cities named after him.
The High Court declared that choices like road renaming cannot be made without first consulting the public.
Last month, during a state visit to Kenya, President Mnangagwa requested President Kenyatta to be the guest of honour at the ZITF, the country’s premier trade expo.
It is believed that Zimbabwe’s 79-year-old ruler is keen to win President Kenyatta to his side for his own political survival.
He has been urging Kenya to extradite Jonathan Moyo, a former Zimbabwean minister who fled the nation during the 2017 military takeover and was a close ally of late President Robert Mugabe.
Despite Zimbabwe’s attempts to extradite Prof Moyo to face corruption charges, he has remained in Nairobi with his Kenyan wife.
Soldiers attempted to kill him and his family during the coup, according to a former governing Zanu PF strategist who claims his life will be in danger if he is forced to return home.
President Mnangagwa is also alleged to be attempting to persuade his ally Raila Odinga to cut connections with Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa by relying on President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta has backed Odinga as his successor ahead of the August elections.
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