Bulawayo residents challenge renaming of streets

THE Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) on Thursday filed an application at the High Court seeking an order to set aside government’s decision to rename some streets in the country’s second largest city as this was illegal.

Government through Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo on 17 July 2020 purportedly approved the issuance of Statutory Instrument 167/20, called Names (Alteration) (Amendment of Schedule) Notice whose purpose was to alter the names of some streets or roads in Bulawayo.

The Statutory Instrument stated in its preamble that in exercising his powers under section 4(1) of the Alteration of Names Act (Chapter 10:14), Moyo had issued a Notice altering the names of certain streets by amending Part VII of the Act by the repeal of certain names of roads and substituting them with new ones.

But in an urgent chamber application filed by BPRA represented by Job Sibanda of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, BPRA argued that Moyo’s actions in passing Statutory Instrument 167/20 runs counter the clear provisions of the Alteration of Names Act, are illegal and go against the grain of what is accepted in a normal society.

BPRA said Moyo did not consider the provisions of section 4(2) of the Alteration of Names Act, before coming up with the raft of names that he sought to impose on Bulawayo City Council (BCC), which was also cited as a respondent to the application and the residents of Bulawayo.

BPRA argued that Section 4(2) of the Alteration of Names Act states that Moyo should not alter any names in terms of subsection (1) unless he has consulted the owner of the land where the alteration is to take place of which BCC owns the land that forms the basis of the alteration.

BPRA protested that Moyo ignored some proposals made by BCC some time ago on street name changes and came up with a list of names that are totally different from the ones the local authority had suggested to the Minister.

BPRA wants Moyo’s actions and Statutory Instrument 167/20 to be nullified and to be declared to be of no legal effect whatsoever for violating section 4(2) of the Alteration of Names Act.

The residents association also wants Statutory Instrument 167/20 to be set aside.