THE MDC-T-dominated Harare City Council has set itself on a collision course with the Zanu PF government after proposing to name a new suburb in Budiriro, Harare, and some of the capital’s roads after liberation war heroes and democracy campaigners among them the late Retired General Solomon Mujuru and the late MDC-T spokesperson Learnmore Jongwe.
The issue was raised during a full council meeting on Tuesday where councillors said it was improper for the roads in the city’s suburbs to be named after birds and trees while there were deserving people who sacrificed their all for Zimbabwe.
The move came a day after city mayor Bernard Manyenyeni blasted Zanu PF for naming some parts of Harare after President Robert Mugabe and his wife, First Lady Grace.
Manyenyeni on Monday indicated the Zanu PF move was illegal and ordered the ruling party to pull down its signposts at the Civic Centre Grounds in Harare, which were renamed Robert Mugabe Square and the main access road as Dr Grace Mugabe Way.
The local authority argued that the naming of city roads and other infrastructure within its area of jurisdiction was the sole prerogative of city fathers.
Debating the issue, Glen Norah councillor Herbert Gomba cited the late decorated liberation war hero Mujuru who died in a mysterious inferno in 2011 as befitting the status of having a city road named after him.
“We should be seen to be naming some of those roads after people who played critical roles in the history and development of our country. For example, there are people here who played critical roles in the project (Budiriro housing project) like former mayor Muchadeyi Masunda and town clerk Tendai Mahachi.
“We have focused on animals and some of the names are all over, if you look at Mufakose, Mbare and other areas, there are the same names,” Gomba said.
Council chief whip councillor Peter Moyo, while seconding Gomba’s statement, said: “Look at what Masunda did for this city. Look at Solomon Mujuru, people who fought for this country. Look at Learnmore Jongwe who fought for democracy in this country.”
Moyo said there was need to have some of the places named after these personalities.
The debate came after Old Mutual project managers had sent through a list seeking approval for suburb and street names for the roads providing access to the Budiriro stands created in the CABS project.
“The names were derived from names of indigenous trees, fruit trees and birds. The naming of the suburb and roads is very important for identification purposes,” the project managers said.
Council and CABS jointly built more than 3 000 houses in Budiriro, a suburb they wanted to name Ruvheneko Park until the debate on Tuesday.
Other roads were supposed to be named Muchakata, Muchechetere, Muuyu, Muzhanje, Mukwakwa and Mupani, among other names.
Before the expiry of their term of office last year, the Masunda-led council was pushing for the renaming of some of the roads after luminaries.
Other luminaries council has identified include slain United States human rights activist Martin Luther King Junior, the late Zanu-Ndonga leader Ndabaningi Sithole and the late career civil servant Sarah Kachingwe.