Just a day after Kenyans celebrated the naming of a Tanzanian street after Tottenham and Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama Saturday, the street sign was controversially taken down, with Tanzanian authorities claiming that official procedures of renaming the street were not followed.
In a statement released on Sunday, the Ubungo Municipal Council, operating within the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, explained that all names given to streets are proposed by the Ward Development Committee (WDC) and later forwarded to the director for approval.
“In our case, the council of Councilors, Dar es Salaam City Council [DCC], and the Regional Consultative Committee have to be consulted before an announcement is made,” the statement reads in part.
Happy Birthday, Wanyama
Wanyama, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Saturday, spent the weekend in Tanzania, where he attended the unveiling of V. Wanyama Street in Dar es Salaam.
“This is such an honor, and I want to thank all Tanzanians. I promise to come back, spend more time with you, and also reward you in kind,” said Wanyama.
Also in attendance was Ubungo Municipal Mayor Boniface Jacob, who was pictured alongside the celebrated Tottenham midfielder during the launch, raising doubts about the council’s claims that the necessary procedures were not followed.
At the launch, the mayor said the street, which was initially known as Viwanjani Street, had been renamed to V. Wanyama Street in honor of the Kenyan soccer star and his great achievements as the East African Football ambassador.
This honor came a day after Wanyama was named the “Kenyan Sports Personality of the Year” at the OLX SOMA Awards 2017 gala event that was held in Nairobi Friday.
Since the removal of the street sign, some of his Kenyan fans have taken to social media to express their disappointment, accusing Tanzania authorities of hypocrisy:
Wanyama did not beg or ask for a street to be named after him in Dar. So naming a street after him or even its subsequent removal will not in any way negate his status as the best soccer export from Kenya and East Africa in General,” Martin Muthee wrote on Facebook.
And while some Tanzanians are equally angered by the controversial removal, others are convinced that the renaming of the street shouldn’t have happened at all:
Stupid idea to even name it after a Kenyan player in the 1st place,” wrote Salahuddin Musa on Facebook.
Others have attributed the unpleasant circus to the ongoing political wrangles in Tanzania, saying the international soccer star didn’t deserve such humiliation.