The decision to award civic honors to opposition party stalwarts, Professor Welshman Ncube and Dr. Thokozani Khupe, made by the previous Bulawayo councilors, has reportedly been put on hold. This action was taken after Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Advocate Nelson Chamisa stated that he was not consulted to approve the list of honorees.
According to a confidential council report, the list of civic honor nominees included Prof. Ncube, Dr. Khupe, the late National Hero and former city mayor, Alderman Joshua Malinga, renowned historian Mr. Pathisa Nyathi, Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director Professor Solwayo Ngwenya, Dr. Shepard Ndlovu from Operation Florian, another opposition politician Dr. Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association deputy chairperson Ms. Patricia Tshabalala, and Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) chief executive officer Ms. Samukeliso Khumalo. Civic honors are typically awarded for community work or activities that bring distinction to the city.
However, it appears that the decision to honor Prof. Ncube and Dr. Khupe has been deferred indefinitely. Sources suggest that the matter may not be revisited until the next year, around August when the local authority typically handles civic award matters. The decision to honor these political figures has become a contentious issue, and it seems that a motion may be needed to award only community leaders in the future.
This isn’t the first time that Dr. Khupe’s name has been removed from the civic honors list in Bulawayo, as she was previously suggested for the Freedom of the City accolade alongside the late former party president, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai when the council was run by the MDC-T party.
Bulawayo has awarded civic honors and Freedom of the City accolades since 1980, but the process has faced continuous postponements and controversies, with some notable figures receiving such honors over the years, including President Mugabe, former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki, and the late Vice-President of Zimbabwe Joseph Msika. Council by-laws require that nominees for civic honors be drawn up by councilors every August, but this process has been repeatedly delayed for over 13 years since the decision to award the late Vice-President John Nkomo was shelved.
– The Sunday News