The local government ministry reportedly ignored Masvingo local authority ‘s bid to name a road after the late firebrand politician and the MDC founding father Morgan Tsvangirai and named the road after former Vice President Muzenda, The Southern Eye reports.
When the Mayor Collen Maboke was asked by Tellzim about the issue of why they had not stuck to their plan of renaming Hofmeyer, Hellet and Greenfield after Tsvangirai, Mahofa and Eddison Zvobgo respectively, Maboke said the whole road naming thing had been politicised:
There is serious politics involved in the whole thing. We had made our recommendations as council, but the minister has had his way. The Urban Councils Act requires the ministry to consult with council for
any renaming exercise, but ‘consult’ may mean anythingThey simply made token consultations and had their way. It was all about politics.
Maboke even said the new road signs which were erected on streets by the council management were not even budgeted for:
We woke up to see council management putting up new signs, but the 2020 budget given to us as councillors did not contain those expenses. It’s unfortunate that I can’t sustain a row with the minister because effectively, he is like my boss. It would be bad for council if we pick fights with higher authorities at every turn.
Masvingo Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa, however, dismissed Maboke’s claims that the new street signs were not budgeted for and said the council had a budget for the project:
Yes, it is contained in the budget. The law requires standardised signage that is recognisable even from outside the country. It is true we as a city had made our own proposals with regards to the renaming exercise but then the minister gazetted other names through a statutory instrument which then became law to us. That is why we have begun the process of changing the signage.
The government is yet to comment on the issue.
More: The Southern Eye