In November 2019 Cabinet approved plans to rename a number of streets after liberation war heroes.
The act was roundly condemned as a vainglorious act of asserting and flexing power by the new administration.
It was neither fatal nor necessary.
To buttress the point, President Mnangagwa got his name onto ten streets.
Other leaders such as Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Leonid Brezhnev of the old Soviet Union got theirs too.
The then acting Minister of Information Mangaliso Ndlovu said the move was aimed at “fostering unity, while reflecting on the country’s history and identity.”
Two years down the line the renaming of streets is a faded recollection that hangs somewhere in bureaucratic offices.
Out on streets no one is using the new names.
It can be surmised that force of habit and the sheer urgency of bigger economic worries means the ordinary citizens have no appetite for dabbling in semantics and wordplay.
The new street names have failed to stick and have already become a forgotten addendum to the pressing issues of a wobbling economy and poor service delivery.
Harare’s streets are still as potholed and congested as ever with evening drives an utter nightmare.
Samora Machel Avenue, named ‘correctly’ way before the re-christening of the other streets is a teeming swamp of bodies jumping into lorries and running from the baton-wielding police in the evening.
The sight is the same along Robert Mugabe at the intersection with Julius Nyerere.
Although already aptly named with the names of heroes the situation on the ground has refused to give respect to the captions and still requires practical economic action for a semblance of order.
Enterprise Road, now named Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, is daily a sight to behold with winding traffic jams of winking red lights caught in a perpetual crawl.
It captures the country’s path since November 2017; a nasally choked cough that always retains phlegm of something sticky refusing to move.
Despite the motion you feel and are told, you are always back where you were.
Mnangagwa’s eponymous act with roads has, on a certain level captured the unending battle he faces in the aftermath of the 2018 election and the quest for recognition and respect.
He has given himself to the residents and they have refused to accept him.
Like the street names he is simply an existence, a fact of reality.
He however still fails to occupy an existential space of positive acknowledgement within the public realm.
The newly named streets are there outside, walked and driven upon but no one is recognising them in their new garbs.
No one is calling them by their anointed christenings, vaunted and respected as they should be.
All everyone is worried and focused on, is the queer economy and its constant acts of vertigo and de javu.