Saturday 30 September 2023


THE decision by the previous Bulawayo councillors to award opposition party stalwarts, Professor Welshman Ncube and Dr Thokozani Khupe with civic honours has allegedly been parked after Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Advocate Nelson Chamisa said he was not consulted to sanction the list of beneficiaries.

According to a council confidential report, Prof Ncube and Dr Khupe were nominated for the civic honours together with the late National Hero and former city mayor, Alderman Joshua Malinga, renowned historian Mr Pathisa Nyathi and Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya, Dr Shepard Ndlovu from Operation Florian and another opposition politician Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo.

The list also had Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association deputy chairperson, Ms Patricia Tshabalala and Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) chief executive officer, Ms Samukeliso Khumalo. Civic honours are awarded for community work and not for activities carried out during the course of a person’s normal duties for which they were paid for.

The honours may also be conferred in respect of bringing distinction to the city through various activities such as sports, art and culture. When the matter was brought up for deliberation it however, had to be parked on the pretext that there was need for more curriculum vitaes for more possible candidates for the civic honours.

However, sources claim the opposition party leader was not consulted over the proposed decision to confer Prof Ncube and Dr Khupe with the civic honours.

The source revealed that the matter was likely to be indefinitely deferred until such a time that a motion was derived which only awarded community leaders only.

“Besides the three politicians on the list, the thinking is that the best way to proceed is by awarding only the community leaders but for now it will be embarrassing for the motion to be revisited because it will be clear that councillors have been instructed to exclude Prof Ncube and Dr Khupe. So as it stands this motion will only revisited next year around August when the local authority usually handles matters to do with civic awards,” said the source.

This is not the first time that Dr Khupe’s name has been unceremoniously been struck off the civic honours list in Bulawayo, at one point the then MDC-T-run council suggested giving her the Freedom of the city accolade together with their late former party president, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.

Since 1980 the city has conferred six Freedom of the City accolades and 54 civic honours. Among those that got the Freedom of the City are President Mugabe (23 July 1986), Bulawayo District Zimbabwe National Army (3 March 1989), One Brigade Zimbabwe National Army (3 March 1989), the late Vice-President of Zimbabwe Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (27 February 1992), former South Africa President Cde Thabo Mbeki (5 May 2000), and the late Vice-President of Zimbabwe Cde Joseph Msika (25 August 2006).

According to council by-laws every August, councillors are expected to draw up a list of nominees for the civic honours but the matter has continuously been postponed for over 13 years after the council’s decision to award the late Vice-President John Nkomo was controversially shelved. Former Bulawayo councillor Joram Ndebele had also been set to receive a Civic Honour award when the original motion to award the late VP Nkomo was moved. Sunday News


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