Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
BULAWAYO residents have taken Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo to court challenging Government’s decision to change some of the city’s street names as contained in Statutory Instrument 167/20.
In terms of SI 167/20, Minister Moyo announced a number of street name changes in the country’s major cities, a development that saw a number of the nation’s heroes both living and dead being honoured.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) through their lawyers Job Sibanda and Associates, filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging Minister’s approval of street name changes as contained in S1 167/20 under Names (Alterations) (Amendment of Schedule) Notice.
The Statutory Instrument, in its preamble, states that in exercising his powers under section 4(1) of the Alteration of Names Act (Chapter10:14) (hereinafter called “the enabling Act”).
Minister Moyo issued a Notice altering the names of certain street names by amending Part VII of the Act by the repeal of certain names of roads and substituting them with those in the amended schedule.
The residents want the court to declare SI 167/20 and the resultant renaming of the streets in Bulawayo, a nullity, arguing it was in violation of some provisions of the Urban Councils Act.
In papers before the court, Minister Moyo and Bulawayo City Council (BCC) were cited as respondents.
In his founding affidavit, BPRA executive chairperson, Mr Ambrose Sibindi said some of the proposed name changes related to the streets that have been altered in terms of SI 167/20 despite council having made its own name proposals.
Mr Sibindi said Minister Moyo ignored the council proposals and came up with a list of names different from what was forwarded to him by BCC.
“The second respondent (BCC), not too long ago, and exercising its prerogative in terms of section 212 of the Urban Councils Act, brought the matter up for debate in council following proper consideration of the issue by the relevant committee to rename the streets.
“The names were forwarded to Government but they have been altered in terms of SI 176/20,” he said.
Mr Sibindi said the Minister’s actions by issuing a Notice altering the names of the identified streets in Bulawayo is an illegality which the court should nullify.
“The first respondent (Minister Moyo)’s attempt to alter the names of the concerned streets runs afoul the very law that allows him to alter such names.
“He did not consider the provisions of section 4 (2) of the enabling Act before coming up with a raft of names that he sought to impose on second respondent and the residents of Bulawayo,” he said.
Mr Sibindi said section 4(2) of the enabling Act, prohibits Minister Moyo from altering any names in terms of subsection (1) unless he has consulted the owner of the land where the alteration is to take place.
The alteration of names of streets and buildings in any place is a very sensitive and personal affair, which the enabling Act was alive to, by making it a condition precedent for consultations to take place with the owner of the land before it is done. Viewed through an impartial eye, such actions are, I submit, grossly an eyesore, unnatural and patently illegal,” he said.
Mr Sibindi wants the court to set aside S1 167/20, arguing that it is in violation of section 4(2) of the Alteration of Names Act.
In terms of SI 167/20, Sixth Avenue Extension has been renamed Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Way in honour of the President.
Other major roads that have been renamed include; 12th Avenue, which is now Joseph Msika Avenue, Collenbrander Road is now Lookout Masuku Avenue, 9th Avenue is Simon Vengai Muzenda Avenue and 4th Avenue through to 7th Street up to King George is Landa John Nkomo Road.
Connaught Avenue is now Cephas Cele Avenue, 5th Avenue has been renamed Maria Msika Avenue, 10th Avenue is now Nikita Mangena Avenue and 3rd Avenue is now Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu Avenue.
Fife Street through to Bellevue Road up to Plumtree Road is now Benjamin Burombo Street, 23rd Avenue is Jairos Jiri Avenue and Victoria Falls Road has been renamed Mosi-Oa-Tunya Road and 11th Avenue is now Daniel Madzimbamuto Avenue.
Cecil Avenue continuing up to Wellington Road is now Albert Nxele Road, Fife Street and Queens Road is now Queen Lozikeyi Street and 1st Avenue is now Lazarus Nkala Avenue.
Other roads renamed are Doncaster Road which is now Sikanjaya Muntanga Road and 13th Avenue to include Antony Taylor Avenue is now George Nyandoro Avenue.
The respondents are yet to file opposing papers. — @mashnets