WASHINGTON DC —
The Movement for Democratic Change formation of former Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has requested that the Bulawayo City Council to rename Barbourfields Stadium Nelson Mandela in honour of the late South African leader who was laid to rest Sunday.
Barbourfields Stadium is a 40,000 seater that is home to Bulawayo soccer giants, Highlanders Football Club.
Provincial MDC-T chairman for the city, Gorden Moyo, said they had requested his party-dominated council to sit down and consider the request.
“The choice of Barbourfields Stadium was informed by the fact that it is at the heart of the city and is patronised by many people in Bulawayo,” said Moyo.
The late South African icon was granted the Freedom of The City of Bulawayo in 1994 which was never officially conferred on him.
Moyo told the Southern Eye newspaper that in coming up with the proposal they had considered that if Mandela had been president in the early 1980s, he would not have allowed the Gukurahundi atrocities to take place.
Thousands of people were killed in the 1980s by the North Korean-trained Five Brigade which targeted PF-Zapu supporters in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces. The then opposition PF Zapu was led by the late Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, the founding father of Zimbabwe.
Bulawayo mayor, Martin Moyo of the MDC-T was not readily available for comment.
The issue has sparked intense debate on social media with some saying they don’t support the proposal because there are certain local heroes who deserve the honor while others feel it is a befitting honor to a man who has been described as an international icon of humility.
Spokesman, Roderick Fayayo of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association told VOA Studio 7 the debate should not be snuffed out because it is relevant.