The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe's Remaining Commercial Farmers Under Seige


      By Peta Thornycroft
      17 November 2005

Nearly a quarter of Zimbabwe's remaining few hundred commercial farmers are
being expelled from their land and others are having their equipment seized
by security forces.  The seizures appear to be contrary to official policy,
as most of the affected farmers are operating with the assistance of
government loans.

Scores of white commercial farmers, who had previously survived the wave of
farm seizures are being evicted from their land in all parts of Zimbabwe.

Others complain of being harassed ahead of eviction. Tens of millions of
dollars of farming equipment is being seized off productive farms by members
of the police and the army, who are also raiding warehouses and confiscating
stored equipment.

Many farmers being evicted or harassed are recipients of loans to grow crops
from Zimbabwe's central bank.  Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono
has encouraged white commercial farmers to remain on the land and has
expressed alarm at the latest round of evictions. However Lands Minister
Dydimus Mutasa said he didn't know about the latest evictions and equipment
seizures. The crops grown on commercial farms have been vital sources of
foreign exchange earnings for the cash-strapped country.  Most economists
say that Zimbabwe can only recover its economy if agricultural production is

The new farm seizures come just as the new summer growing season is
beginning.  Hendrik Olivier, director of the Commercial Farmers Union, says
he is baffled and worried about the situation.

"We are in the start of our agricultural season, and this is possibly the
worst start to any agricultural season since 1980.... lack of inputs, lack
of fuel, chemicals, fertilizer, and of course, the rain, and on top of all
this, there are continuous disruptions and evictions taking place," he
noted.  "We have farmers who have secured finance through the Reserve Bank
and in 53 percent of all the disruptions taking place country wide are
farmers who had access to RBZ finance, and we currently see approximately 80
disruptions countrywide."

There were about 4,000 white commercial farmers whose lands produced 40
percent of Zimbabwe's foreign currency before President Robert Mugabe
ordered his supporters to evict white farmers in early 2000.

Approximately 300 survived the purge, although operating on greatly reduced
land and circumstances. This small group still produces about 80 percent of
export crops, although volumes have dropped to a quarter of previous levels.

Commenting on contradictory government attitude toward the white farmers,
veteran political analyst Brian Raftopoulos says there is a dislocation of
government policy.  He says the continued seizures of white farms, most of
which are being taken by senior civil servants including top policemen, a
judge and ruling ZANU-PF politicians, shows that the state has run out of
other resources to maintain political patronage. Mr. Raftopoulos says the
farming disruptions are further evidence that Zimbabwe is becoming

Meanwhile, many small-scale farmers who used to produce half of Zimbabwe's
annual production of the staple food corn, say they are unable to afford to
buy seeds and fertilizer. They say they are also limited by the lack of

Zimbabwe does not have enough foreign currency to import fuel and many other
basic items at a time when inflation has topped 400 percent a year.

Less than 10 percent of land confiscated from white farmers since 2000 is
being used, according to official statistics.

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Donors wary of funding housing programme

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 17 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwean government says it is
willing to accept UN assistance to house people affected by its urban
clean-up campaign, but donors are not clamouring to fund the programme.

"The government wants us to build shelters for its own list of
beneficiaries, while we would like to help all those in need and left
homeless," said a western diplomat.

A UN report estimated that Operation Murambatsvina - which the government
said was aimed at clearing slums and flushing out criminals - had left more
than 700,000 people homeless or without a livelihood after kicking off in

The Zimbabwean government had initially rejected the UN offer to build
temporary shelters as there was "no humanitarian crisis", only to make an
about-turn this week.

In its acceptance letter the government laid down specifications for the
construction of permanent brick and concrete one-room shelters.

The construction of 10 pilot houses for government approval was likely to
begin next week, said UN spokesman Hiro Ueki in the capital, Harare.

Subject to funding, the UN is to construct 2,500 housing units during the
first phase of the programme, which intends to build 20,000 units at a total
cost of US $18 million, he added.

"Imagine the precedent we will be setting - any country can go ahead,
demolish informal settlements and ask the international community to
rehabilitate them," the diplomat commented.

"Each unit is now going to cost between US $500 and $1,000, and the total
cost is going to climb beyond the $18 million figure earmarked for the
initial proposal, which involved the construction of wooden shelters - for
that amount of money we could have helped everyone affected by the clean-up
operation," another envoy remarked.

On Wednesday, human rights and civic organisations appealed to African
leaders to address the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.

The joint appeal, led by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), was
supported by international organisations that included the Housing and Land
Rights Network, the Habitat International Coalition, Amnesty International,
Human Rights Watch and the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions.

"We want to highlight the failure of African leaders to condemn the clean-up
campaign and their non-compliance with the UN report's recommendations to
provide humanitarian assistance to those affected," said ZLHR's Otto Saki.


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Prostitutes, vendors scrounge on Zimbabwe roads<


BR>      Thu Nov 17, 2005 8:58 AM ET
By Cris Chinaka
CHIVHU, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - The "highway girls" wave at truckers while
teenage boys in tattered clothes hold up fuel cans to passing motorists.
Zimbabwe's major roads these days are littered with people trying to eke out
a living any way they can.

Rising poverty in the southern African state has forced thousands of young
people in the countryside to work either as prostitutes or vendors, selling
everything from scarce commodities such as fuel and sugar to firewood, wild
fruit and twists of marijuana -- which thrive in the local climate.

Some have nothing to offer but their bodies.

Day and night, young women -- many just out of their teens and invariably
wearing skimpy dresses or clinging pants -- line up at bus stations outside
towns big and small, offering sex to motorists for "a little fee".

The women, popularly known as "the highway girls," are generally picked up
by crossborder truck drivers, who regional health officials say are fuelling
an AIDS/HIV pandemic said to be killing 2,500 Zimbabweans each week.

"I have to do this because there are no jobs, and the income is a bit higher
than selling vegetables," said Rumbidzai, a 20-year-old woman who has been
working as a prostitute from the central town of Chivhu for two years.

"I know there is AIDS, and I insist on condoms," she added.

The work of the highway girls has been immortalized in a popular song
entitled Madhara Egonyeti (Elderly Truckers), which pleads with drivers to
desist from sleeping with young girls.

While the women parade and wave down potential customers, further down the
road a group of scruffy teenage boys are waving fuel cans, saying they have
the scarce commodity for sale at blackmarket prices of up to four times the
official rate.

Joshua Masarakwedu, 16, said his trade was quite profitable. "We buy from
truckers or other dealers and we hold back and sell during dry days when
there is no fuel and prices are good."

The highway girls and the fuel traders vie for a living on Zimbabwe's roads
alongside fish and fish-worm sellers, beggars and drug peddlers who offer
potential customers marijuana.

The problem has got worse since the government demolished shantytowns and
thousands of "illegal" houses in a controversial campaign early this year,
which the United Nations said left about 700,000 people homeless and
destroyed the informal sector.

Zimbabwe is struggling with a severe economic crisis which many government
critics blame on President Robert Mugabe, in power since independence from
Britain in 1980.

Mugabe's policies have seen a former food exporter holding out a begging
bowl for the last five years as people grapple with rising poverty and
unemployment of well over 70 percent, the critics say.

But the 81-year-old Zimbabwean leader says the economy has been sabotaged by
domestic and Western opponents seeking to oust him over the controversial
seizure and redistribution of white-owned farms to his black supporters.

An estimated 3.5 million Zimbabweans -- about a quarter of the national
population -- have sought jobs and homes abroad, many of them illegally, as
a result of a political and economic crisis blamed on Mugabe's increasingly
controversial rule.

Hundreds of thousands live and work illegally in Britain, Zimbabwe's former
colonial master.

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China provides Zimbabwe with agriculture equipment

Xinhua 2005-11-17 00:58:32

          HARARE, Nov. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe and the Chinese province
of Jiangxi on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the supply
of irrigation, tillage, road construction, mechanical and surveying

          Visiting Vice Governor of Jiangxi province, Sun Gang, and
WaterResources and Infrastructure Development Minister, Munacho
Mutezo,signed the memorandum at the ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front Headquarters on Thursday.

          Vice President Joyce Mujuru and officials from the District
Development Fund, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and the Department
of Irrigation witnessed the signing of the Memorandum.

          The three departments are expected to benefit from the Memorandum
of Understanding, which will last for five years and issubject to renewal.

          Speaking before the signing ceremony, Mujuru said the visit by the
Chinese delegation would further cement the strong relations between the two

          China was carrying out a number of development projects in the
country, including construction of dams, she said.

          "These include Valley Dam in Matebeleland and Marovanyika Dam in
Manicaland," she said.

          "Recently they (Chinese) have been awarded Bindura Dam in
Mashonaland Central and we are looking forward to them carrying out the
Kunzvi Dam close to Harare."

          Construction of Kunzvi Dam is expected to end Harare's water woes.

          Mujuru said the Zimbabwe government was determined to move
awayfrom rain fed agriculture to irrigation in order to improve food

          Resources meant for food imports could then be directed toward
other development programs such as infrastructure development and
procurement of essential drugs, she added.

          The Memorandum of Understanding is a follow up to an agreement
that President Robert Mugabe signed when he visited China in July this year.

          The Zimbabwe government has adopted a deliberate policy to
moveaway from traditional partners and markets in the West to establishing
new ones in the East. Enditem

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SA pilots to get training from Zimbabwe


          November 17 2005 at 05:14AM

      Zimbabwean Air Force instructors are to be dispatched to South Africa
(SA) to train local air force pilots under a memorandum of understanding
signed between the two governments in Cape Town on Thursday.

      "This initiative, involving seconding Zimbabwe's flying instructors to
train SA Air Force pilots, aircraft technicians and support staff, follows a
long tradition of training exchanges between our countries," Intelligence
Minister Ronnie Kasrils said.

      These included joint military exercises, peace keeping training,
defence management training, staff course visits, communication training,
sporting activities and aviation safety.

      Kasrils was addressing cabinet ministers from Zimbabwe and South
Africa during the first meeting of a joint permanent commission on defence
and security between the two countries.

      In his welcoming address, he congratulated Zimbabwe on "great
achievements" during its 25 years of independence.

      "Very heavy congratulations to these notable achievements at a time
when Zimbabwe is facing challenges," he said.

      Zimbabwe's National Security Minister Dydimus Mutasa responded that
good relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe were vital for the
stability of the region.

      "The future of the region depends on the good relationship of our two
countries. If there is conflict between our two countries, there will be no
stable future in this region," he said. - Sapa

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S. Africa, Zimbabwe Sign Defense, Intelligence Pact


South Africa signed a pact with its neighbor Zimbabwe on Nov. 17 to
strengthen ties on defense and intelligence, spurning western government
efforts to isolate President Robert Mugabe's government.

The agreement will see the two countries share information on security
issues. Zimbabwean pilots and instructors will also travel to South Africa
for training.

"This week's historic meeting further consolidates a long-standing
socio-political and economic relationship between our two countries," South
African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils said at the signing in Cape

Zimbabwe's problems are no different than those faced by other countries
that have come through a colonial past, he added.

South Africa, roundly criticized for not taking a stronger line against
Mugabe, has vowed to continue working with the Zimbabwe government to try to
solve that country's difficulties.

"We are not going to do anything - based on some of the populism chants that
happen on our soil and elsewhere - that is going to upset that program,"
South African Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula told reporters.

The deal comes at a time when Europe and the United States are increasing
pressure on Mugabe's government, widely accused of vote rigging and human
rights abuses.

Zimbabwe is reeling from its worst economic and political crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980, triggered in part by government seizures
of white-owned farms for resettlement of landless blacks.

Zimbabwe blames its problems on a Western campaign of sanctions and
isolation, led by Britain and the United States, opposed to its land reform
program. It promised on Nov. 17 to continue its "war of words" with British
Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush, and warned
South Africa of foreigners trying to interfere in the affairs of African

"The greatest threats to the stability of the region and Zimbabwe in
particular is the threat of exogenous influences whose aim is to effect
regime change, especially in regards to my country," Zimbabwe's Minister for
State Dydimus Mutasa said.

He also criticized non-governmental organizations he claimed are a front for
foreign governments.

Zimbabwe Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi said accounts of human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe are merely imagined and Mugabe's government would not be
swayed by such accusations.

The agreement signed will also see South Africa and Zimbabwe cooperate to
better enforce immigration laws, as thousands of Zimbabweans seek refuge in
more affluent South Africa.

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WOZA women hit the streets to launch anti-senate campaign

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      17 November 2005

      The Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were on the streets of Harare and
Bulawayo on Thursday demonstrating peacefully against the senate. They
believe the senate represents poverty while the Zimbabwean people want
dignity. In each city about 200 people took part in the protests which ended
successfully without any reported arrests.

      WOZA coordinator Jenni Williams said the police arrived after the demo
was over in Bulawayo, and they approached the women slowly in Harare. Jenni
said they appreciate the police when they behave this way and understand
that they have their job to do. She added that many police officers are
family members of WOZA women.

      With the senate elections due on November 26, the WOZA women have
joined forces with civic organisations, students and churches to organise a
public referendum intended to confirm that Zimbabweans truly want dignity
and not a senate. This coalition is mobilising its members and will launch a
weeklong door to door campaign during which the public will fill out forms
that will reflect what they want. Jenni said the results will be announced
just before the senate elections. She added that if the referendum shows
that the majority do not want the senate, then people will know what to do,
or what not to do on election day.

      The government is spending 90 billion dollars on the senate elections.
The WOZA women ask whether Zimbabweans want senators or the basic right to
live dignity. WOZA Referendum forms can be down loaded on our website, where
more information about the campaign can also be found. WOZA is also
appealing for assistance with printing the forms for distribution and
transportation for their staff.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Health crisis looming as sewage flows in Zimbabwe's capital city

      By Violet Gonda
      17 November 2005

      A serious health crisis is looming in Harare as some parts of the
streets in the city centre are over-flowing due to burst sewers. The speed
at which the capital city is deteriorating is very worrying. There are burst
water pipes everywhere, and countless broken street and traffic lights.

      Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa says Harare is no longer a
tourist attraction with rubbish heaps everywhere as refuse has not been
collected in many areas. Muchemwa said the city is in a shambles especially
along 1st Street, Nelson Mandela Ave and Rezende Street.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Tsvangirai asks Supreme Court to take poll case


November 17, 2005, 20:15

Lawyers for Zimbabwe's opposition leader asked the Supreme Court today to
take over his challenge to President Robert Mugabe's 2002 poll victory and
set aside a lower court's ruling dismissing part of the case.

Lawyers for Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai say a
lower court hearing the case has delayed action on it and its rulings have
handicapped their ability to have the election nullified. "We have been
prejudiced irredeemably. Witnesses have become unavailable to us. ... We
have not been given a fair hearing," Jeremy Gauntlett, Tsvangirai's main
lawyer, told the Supreme Court, asking it to take over the case.

Tsvangirai filed a two-pronged challenge immediately after the 2002
presidential election. The case reached court in 2003. Part of the challenge
involved Mugabe's amendment of some electoral laws days before the election
which Tsvangirai's lawyers said amounted to abuse of power.

Last year the high court dismissed the MDC's initial arguments without
giving a reason, an omission Tsvangirai's lawyers say crippled their case.
The lawyers also said the High Court had failed to conclude the case 3 1/2
years after the petition was filed.

The Supreme Court said it would rule on Tsvangirai's application, but did
not give a date.

Lawyers for Mugabe and a state electoral body that supervised the 2002 polls
argued that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter, and
that under Zimbabwe's electoral laws, the matter should go back to the lower

The MDC charges Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
won the last presidential poll through rigging and a violent campaign
against the opposition. Mugabe denies the charge, saying his ruling ZANU-PF
party won 2000 and 2005 parliamentary polls fairly. - Reuters

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Warrant of arrest for Zhuwawo's shock troops

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/18/2005 03:48:35
A HARARE magistrate on Wednesday issued a warrant of arrest against
President Robert Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo and 31 Zanu PF supporters
after they failed to appear in court to answer violence charges.

The 31 Zanu PF youths, who have been on bail since February, were part of
Zhuwawo's campaign team in the March 31 general elections.

They were released on free bail in February, days after they were arrested.

A deputy minister in Mugabe's government, Zhuwawo is brother to Leo Mugabe,
both of them sons to the President's sister Sabina.

Harare Magistrate Rodney Mzyece issued the warrant of arrest when the
accused's names where called out three times outside the courtroom and
failed to show up.

The youths were nabbed a day after they allegedly overran a police post in
Norton in a bid to rescue a colleague who had been arrested on charges of
political violence

Prosecutors say the youths went on a hunt for MDC in the Norton area. When
their hunt yielded nothing, they indiscriminately attacked anyone perceived
to be an MDC supporter.

It is the State's case that the accused were led by Shepherd Tsomondo,
husband to the ruling party's one time aspiring candidate in the
constituency, Bybit Tsomondo, before paving way for Zhuwawo.

President Robert Mugabe nephew defeated the MDC's Hilda Mafudze in polls
which the opposition party said were characterised by violence.

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Chief threatens to poison lions

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Pamenus Tuso in Hwange
issue date :2005-Nov-18

CHIEF Nelukoba of Mavalebu Communal Lands, Hwange, has threatened to poison
a pride of lions terrorising villagers and killing their livestock because
the department of National Parks and Wildlife Management is doing nothing to
stop the menace.

Highly placed sources at the Hwange National Park provincial offices in
Matabeleland North, said the chief, a teacher by profession, stormed their
offices on Monday this week and threatened to shut down the premises unless
the department took immediate action and shoot the killer beasts.
"The chief looked menacing and threatening. He claimed that the lions had
devoured 17 of his cattle and wanted them killed. He even threatened to
poison the lions if nothing was done," a source at the national park said
Hwange Park's operations warden, Wellington Mafuka, confirmed that the chief
indeed caused an incident at their offices over the lions.
"It's true that the chief raised the issue of lions in his area to us.  But
we told him that our hands are tied because the area falls under the Hwange
Rural District Council, which is supposed to invite us in such cases. We
cannot just go there without an official invitation letter from them,
otherwise we will face problems," Mafuka said.
"The chief also threatened to poison the lions, but we urged him to perform
traditional rituals to get rid of the animals. Traditionally, when such
problems occur, chiefs brew beer and engage in rituals which has helped in
other areas," he added.
The warden said they had since advised Chief Nelukoba that it was criminal
to poison the lions.
Besides Mavalebu, lions have also wreaked havoc in Chief Shana's Chidove
area of Jambezi near Victoria Falls town where they have so far devoured 15
cattle worth more than $200 million.
Chief Nelukoba could not be reached for comment yesterday.
A number of traditional leaders in Zimbabwe have been embroiled in
controversy over the years. Early this year, Chiefs Zvimba and Nyamweda were
sucked into a dispute over the ownership of the Lion and Cheetah Park, just
outside Harare.
In a separate incident, Chief Sikhobokhobo Nkayi cried before President
Robert Mugabe after he had been accused of receiving war veterans'
gratuities and pension illegally.
President Mugabe then lashed out at those harassing chiefs, saying such
behaviour was unwarranted.
In a related matter, Chief Chikwaka was recently arrested andarraigned
before the Murehwa magistrates' court on allegations of extortion. He is
expected to return to the same court on November 29.
Another chief, Masekesa of Buhera, was dragged to court in October on
bribery charges and was remanded to next Wednesday

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Govt releases $350bn for tobacco

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Business Reporters
issue date :2005-Nov-18

THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has for the past three weeks
released more than $350 billion to assist tobacco farmers boost the crop's
output in the new season.
This is part of the $1 trillion requested by the farmers.
The funds were disbursed in two batches: the first one in early November and
the second on Wednesday.
The farmers are expected to procure various inputs that may be lacking
during the current period of transplanting the dry land crop.
TIMB deputy-general manager Godfrey Buka yesterday confirmed the
disbursements by government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
"Since the beginning of this month, government channeled the money to the
tobacco production regulating authority for disbursement," Buka said.
"So far more than $350 billion has been disbursed and quite a number of
farmers have benefited," Buka said.
In March this year, farmers agreed on a $1 trillion tobacco production
The farmers planned to grow tobacco on 100 000 hectares and set an output
target of 160 million kg during the coming season.
Buka said funds were being made available in batches until the full amount
that was requested is paid.
However, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Tobacco Growers (ZATG)
Julius Ngorima said although farmers welcomed funds being made available,
the money was too little and was coming too late.
"We appreciate efforts being made to ensure that funds for tobacco are made
available to farmers," said Ngorima.
"However, our worry is that the funds are coming in batches and have been
benefiting very few farmers at a given time. The funds are also being
distributed late."
Tobacco planting has a set timetable that must be adhered to if farmers are
to produce a quality crop.
Seedbeds should be prepared as early as June while transplanting for
irrigated crop should be done in August.
A dry land crop must be transplanted during September and October.
Ngorima said many farmers had hoped to meet the timetable but had failed to
do so.
"Although the rain season had started a little bit late, farmers are
supposed to have completed planting the crop by mid-next month.
"The delays in the disbursement of the fund will have a negative impact on
the crop output. We appeal to the central bank to move fast in disbursing
the funds."
Meanwhile, some tobacco farmers have said the new exchange rate, that saw
the local currency devalued from $26 000 to about $60 000 last month has
short-changed them whilst giving tobacco merchants unearned super profits.
Since the tobacco-selling season for this year opened in April, farmers had
been selling their tobacco to the three auction floors up until the closure
of the selling season in October.
During that period small scale and commercial tobacco farmers benefited from
at least three exchange rate reviews that saw the Zimbabwean dollar being
adjusted from $6 000, $10 000 and $17 500 to the United States dollar.
These reviews that were made by the central bank were meant to provide a
cushion to farmers that were producing for the export market, but farmers
however expressed discontentment with last month's major review of the
exchange rate.
"The local currency depreciated by more than 200 percent from $24 000 to
about $60 000 in the past weeks. Tobacco farmers are no longer benefiting.
We sold our tobacco at the old prices so the people who are now making
profits are the merchants," one tobacco farmer said.
A number of local and international tobacco merchants, among then companies
such as Dimon, were some of the major merchants this season.
Among them the merchants purchased the country's 75 million kg of tobacco
produced this year down from 83 million in 2004, which tobacco farmers are
claiming they have been short-changed.
"Tobacco merchants are now making super profits at the expense of farmers
who produced the crop. The merchants are making the super profits on top of
their profit margins on the old prices," another tobacco farmer from
Mashonaland East fumed.
Last month, in the central bank monetary policy review statement tobacco
growers and gold producers became entitled to a new exchange rate regime in
order encourage foreign currency generation.
Tobacco and gold are two of the country's biggest cash cows in terms of
foreign currency earnings.
The central bank said 70 percent of the foreign currency from tobacco and
loan drawdowns would be sold to the Reserve Bank at the ruling open market
The official auction rate would apply on the remaining 30 percent.
"In order to promote pre-financing of tobacco growing by merchants, and
hence, promote foreign exchange inflows, merchants can now draw-down funds
from their offshore lines of credit and pre-sale same to the Reserve Bank,
for purposes of financing working capital requirements of growers.
"Such funds, which will be approved on a transaction by transaction basis,
can then be netted off the following," the central bank said.

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Harare residents condemn extension of commission term

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-18

THE Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has condemned as
undemocratic the government's decision to extend the term of the Commission
running the capital's affairs by an additional six months arguing it was a
violation of the law.
Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development minister Ignatius
Chombo last week announced that the Sekesai Makwavarara-led commission's
second term in office would be extended when it expires on December 9.
CHRA yesterday said: "Chombo has consistently denied residents their
democratic voice as enshrined in our Constitution and the Urban Councils
Act. The Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) explicitly states that once the
term of commissioners has expired after six months, it cannot be extended
beyond a further three months."
The residents' body said their position was vindicated by recent court
rulings in similar cases.
"In her recent judgment (Zvobgo Vs the City of Harare (HC 12862/00), Justice
(Rita) Makarau ruled that the re-appointment of commissions remains
unlawful, reaffirming the prior judgment of Justice (Wilson) Sandura in 2002
(Stevenson Vs the Minister of Local Government and others (SC 38/02)," CHRA
The association also noted a similar judgment by Justice Charles Hungwe in
2001 in the matter between CHRA and the Registrar General (HC210/2001) where
the judge ruled that the minister had no right to continuously extend the
terms of commissions.
CHRA filed another urgent chamber application on June 7 this year
challenging the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for failing to organise
council elections for Harare, but Judge Lavender Makoni ruled that the
matter was not urgent and had to follow the normal court's roll.
The date for its hearing is yet to be set.
The Makwavarara commission was appointed last year following the suspension
of councillors from the then MDC-led municipality and resignations of others
from the opposition party over what they termed excessive government
interference in the running of the local authority. Makwavarara initially
got into council on an MDC ticket as councillor for Mabvuku and deputy
mayor. She later rejoined Zanu PF announcing her decision during last year's
Heroes Day commemorations.

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Veterinary Services drafts bird flu emergency plan

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

issue date :2005-Nov-18

THE Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has drafted an emergency
preparedness plan on the bird flu virus detailing what needs to be done in
dealing with the virus should it occur in the country.
The department's chief veterinary officer, Anne Mujeyi,  this week said
multi-sectoral government departments have been working together to plan
their response should the virus reach the country.
"The Zimbabwe Influenza Plan, currently in draft format, is designed to
manage bird flu outbreaks among bird populations such as poultry farms," she
She said the plan would later be submitted to cabinet for approval and
funding by government and other stakeholders.
The committee is made up of various stakeholders including the Ministry of
Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Ministry of Home Affairs,
Veterinary Services, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Ministry of
Environment and Tourism, Civil Protection Unity, Civil Aviation Authority.
Despite the threat of the flu in Asian countries, Mujeyi maintained that
there were no reports of the bird flu strain in Zimbabwe, either among birds
or people.
"Zimbabwe has constantly been testing and screening for Avian influenza in
order to facilitate poultry and ostrich exports and results so far have been
negative," she said.
However, Mujeyi said there was need to take key measures to prevent an
outbreak from migratory birds carrying the avian influenza type 'A' virus.
The virus was carried inside the bird's intestines and distributed into the
environment via bird droppings.
Migratory birds infected with the virus could potentially spread the flu to
any of the countries they visit.
She said there was need to keep wild birds and domesticated birds apart and
ensure that domesticated birds had a safe supply of drinking water.
Symptoms of the flu in birds differ according to the species but can include
diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, swollen head and death.
A sick bird is said to shed the virus in its feathers, mucus, saliva and
Mujeyi said humans who had close contact with sick birds were at risk of
being infected with the flu.
She said there was no evidence that the H5N1 strain could be spread from
human to human though there was concern that the virus that infects animal
species can change and infect humans.
"If the H5N1 bird flu virus were to mix with a human influenza virus, such a
'combined' virus could create a new human influenza that could spread
rapidly," she said.
Measures to contain the spread of the flu she said included identifying and
destruction of affected poultry flocks, research into tests and vaccines and
rigorous quarantine practices.
Meanwhile the DVS routinely conducts tests on birds and ostriches and has
also urged farmers to alert it of any death of birds in huge numbers.
The department has also alerted people working with birds and increased
sanitary measures in the handling of birds and poultry.
The DVS is also adequately equipped to test for the virus
while samples will be shared with the World Animal Health Organisation and
World Health Organisation laboratories for a second opinion.
The H5NI strain that causes the flu first emerged in Hong Kong in 1997,
causing death and destruction of 1,5 million birds and killing six people.
It re-emerged in 2003 in South Korea and has now spread to China, Vietnam,
Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Turkey, and Romania and recently to the United

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