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BCC revives Freedom of the City honour

by Staff reporter
12 Nov 2017 at 09:23hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) will this year finally confer the Freedom of the City honour after a nine-year hiatus with a failed consensus yet on who to award the honour amid allegations of political interference.

At one point the MDC-T-run council suggested giving the accolade to their party president, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Dr Thokozani Khupe and the then Water Resources Development and Management Minister Dr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, who by then was a member of the opposition party.

In the latest development the local authority has passed a motion that will see the city soon awarding the Freedom of the City and giving civic honours to individuals who had contributed to its development.

According to a council confidential report, six years on, councillors have reportedly renewed moves to award the city's highest honour with councillors having up to Wednesday to have nominated individuals set to be awarded the accolade.

"The Freedom of the City is the highest civic honour a council could bestow upon a person in terms of paragraph 52 of the Urban Councils Act, Chapter 29:15. Council's previous resolution of 6 October 1943 also referred to this matter. The recipients were given a silver casket, a scroll which contained the Freeman's warrant headed with the Coat of Arms of the city and other gifts. They also signed the scroll together with the Town Clerk and the Mayor. During the post-independence era, this honour had been bestowed on few persons or individuals, due to its significance and the need to maintain dignity . . . it was agreed that the deadline for nominations be 15 November 2017," reads the report.

Meanwhile, the local authority will also be awarding civic honours during this year's Mayoral Annual Review. Civic honours are mainly awarded for community work mainly contributing to the development of the city.

"Civic honours are awarded for community work and not for activities carried out during the course of a person's normal duties for which he or she was paid and due recognition given in terms of that person's contract. Such activities should be over and above one's work.

"The second category was in respect of bringing distinction to the city through various activities such as sports and culture. In view of this, the committee was requested to consider whether or not fresh nominations for this award should be called for, including previous ones in order to facilitate the necessary processes," reads part of the report.

Recipients of this award get a certificate and sign in the civic honour book, which is counter signed by the town clerk and the mayor.

The local authority's spokesperson, Miss Bongiwe Ngwenya, revealed that 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 Thabo Mbeki (5 May 2000), and the late Vice-President of Zimbabwe 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 six years after the council's decision to award the late Vice-President John Nkomo was controversially shelved after Ms Khupe had allegedly ordered the local authority to block the move.

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.

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Source - sundaynews