THE MDC-T-dominated Bulawayo City Council has failed to grant any civic honours during its term that expired last week after it was forced to reconsider some of its nominees due to controversies.
Late Vice-President John Nkomo, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Thokozani Khupe and Water minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, were some of the top government officials that council considered for the Freedom of the City award.
The award was never granted after the process was shrouded in controversy with Nkomo’s programme cancelled at the last minute in 2010 following alleged intervention by senior MDC-T officials.
Early this year, outgoing deputy mayor Amen Mpofu recommended that Tsvangirai, Khupe and Sipepa Nkomo must be given the honour.
However, the recommendation was never considered by councillors after Khupe allegedly raised dust over Sipepa Nkomo’s mention arguing that the minister was “too junior”. Mpofu dismissed the allegations.
There was widespread outcry among some residents who argued that the
MDC-T leaders did not deserve the honour amid revelations that Mpofu had tabled the motion to a wrong committee within council.
Town clerk Middleton Nyoni had written to councillors requesting them to submit candidates for the awards for the year 2013 not later than May 17. MDC-T insiders yesterday told Southern Eye that Tsvangirai ordered that his Freedom of the City honour be put aside because of the controversy it had generated.
“The Tsvangirai, Khupe and Sipepa Nkomo honour will die a natural death,” a former councillor said.
“We understand that Tsvangirai blocked the event because of the controversy that erupted after the announcements.”
But outgoing mayor Thaba Moyo said new councillors would look into the issue of the civic awards, which have not been held for a long time for political reasons.
“The term of the council ended but the next council will look into it. Council resolutions do not expire,” he said. “It does not mean that because the term of councillors has ended, so have the resolutions.”
Some of the prominent recipients of the Freedom of City award include President Robert Mugabe and former South African president Thabo Mbeki.