EASTERN NEWS | Backyard chicken runs condemned


HARARE – Chicken-raring in residential areas poses a serious health risk that has largely been ignored by authorities because of the country’s economic hardships, the Manicaland Poultry Producers Association MPPA) has said.

The association’s chairperson, Enoch Mbendani, told Eastern News that government must bring the practice to a stop as it puts the public’s health at risk.

“We all appreciate that poultry production has been one of many ways people have used to cope in a difficult economic climate but at some point government needs to also balance the scales with the public health risk the too many chickens in urban high density settings pose,” Mbendani said in an exclusive interview.

He said council by-laws limit the number of chickens a family can raise to 25.

“This may make me unpopular but council by-laws that pegged the limit per stand at 25 chickens did it for a reason and at some point government may need to look at enforcing that,” he said.

His comments come amid growing concerns over health risks of residents living near concentrated animal husbandry operations.

Mbendani said high bird stocking density, unhygienic conditions, and poor bird rearing practices may facilitate the emergence and spread of diseases, including the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, with public health implications such as H5N1.

He said even the quality of chicken meat needs regulation through formalised farming methods.

There is also a high risk of people being fed with diseased chickens, posing further health risks to meat consumers.

“As an association, we would like poultry producers to also at least register with us so that we can work together to also ensure that the chickens that are being sold are in good health and not a danger to our clients,” Mbendani said.

His association is in the process of setting up a chicken abattoir whose completion has been stalled by lack of funding that is expected to help in regulating the quality of chicken meat that goes to the market.


Vendors trickle back into Mutare CBD

BARELY a month after having been driven out of the Mutare CBD, vendors are again invading the city’s pavements and sidewalks.

Vendors and informal traders — among many in most major cities, including Harare — were forced out of Mutare CBD following a blitz ordered by former president Robert Mugabe, which was reinforced during the recent military-led “Operation Restore Legacy”.

The informal traders include mainly pirated discs sellers and fruits and vegetable vendors.

They are increasingly clogging the side-walks each passing day, creating human traffic jams as they solicit for clients to their merchandise, which is often stuffed away.

“Vendors are already on their way back and this is going to be a crucial test to both municipal police and the ZRP,” one Tariro Dumba, a Mutare resident, said yesterday.

Despite the vicious blitz by municipal police, some vendors never left their vending positions, as they continued to linger on the streets for clients, the Eastern News observed.

Many are those who had built lasting relationships with clients, whom they often gave items on credit.

At their peak, the vendors would engulf the city’s public transport termini, making them completely impassable at times.

But some Mutare residents have been infuriated by the vendors’ return.

“While I appreciate the need for people to earn a living, we still need order. We can’t transform the whole city into a fruit and vegetable market in the name of money,” said an irate resident, who preferred anonymity, in a previous interview.|

At some point, council had encouraged the illegal activities in an attempt to sympathise with the unemployed, as it was conflicted by high unemployment which was often forcing many people to default on paying rates.

The situation has, however, long degenerated into utter chaos with some vendors touting through public address systems and others with radios on full blast.


Heavy rains wreck road repairs

MUTARE City Council (MCC)’s $1,3 million roads rehabilitation project has suffered a major setback due to the heavy rains that are damaging repair works already done.

The project was scheduled for completion before the onset of the rains, which have been ravaging most parts of the country in the past days, but was delayed because the contractor stopped working in protest over non-payment by the local authority.

The rains have severely damaged and are threatening to completely cut off Blessing Makunike Road — a major route being upgraded to tar — from Nyamauru Bridge.

With the $1,3 million roads rehabilitation budget allocation now clearly going to run short, because of the damage by rains and delayed payments, some of Mutare’s roads that had been earmarked for repair may not be fixed.

MCC public relations officer, Spren Mutiwi, told Eastern News that the delays were caused by the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara).

“We had assurances that some payments were going to come through before the end of this month,” Mutiwi said in a brief interview.

In line with Zinara’s emergency works fund, MCC had selected specific roads across the city for repairs because of their strategic importance, a choice that was endorsed by the border town’s residents.

Dangamvura’s Blessing Makunike Road and Chikanga’s Jeff Road were given first priority, but repair works have suffered a major setback due to the heavy downpours.

Magamba Drive, Aerodrome and Herbert Chitepo Street were of second priority, and their repair works were expected to be complete by November 30.

Council had already bought all the raw materials for use in the processes, with construction company Forit having been contracted.


Arda Transau housing contractors slammed

FIRMS contracted by Chiadzwa-based diamond mining companies to build homes for displaced villagers have been slammed for cutting corners and short-changing the relocated people.

Following the discovery of diamonds in the Chiadzwa area, scores of families were relocated to Arda Transau to pave way for miners, including Chinese, who then hired contractors to build houses for the displaced.

Matthew Mundondo, who is currently contracted to conduct exhumations and reburials in Chiadzwa, told Eastern News that although he missed out on the housing contracts, those who landed them were building “substandard” houses.

“We may blame the Chinese and other companies because they were ultimately in-charge but the contractors who built the houses should also be held accountable for short-changing the people of Chiadzwa,” he claimed.

“They took advantage of the need for speed and laxity in supervision to build weak structures,” Mundondo said.

His comments come amid heavy rains that are exposing the structural frailties of the houses, with residents discovering that some of the houses do not even have concrete floors despite each unit being priced at $50 000.

Most of the houses have developed cracks so big that one can see the outside and through to adjacent rooms.

While none of the houses have curved in, there are fears that many will soon collapse and crush inhabitants, as some toilets have since fallen in.

More than 20 of the houses have had their roofs blown off because of poor quality nails that were used in roofing, as the contractors hurried their construction work.

There was no supervision of the construction work by the Mutare Rural District Council, sources said.

Efforts to get comment from the local authority were fruitless by the time of going to print, as officials referred questions to the chief executive, Shepard Chinaka.

He, however, has previously stated that the settlement was under the Local Government ministry and only later handed over to council after people were resettled further exposing the loopholes in the resettlement exercise.

Locals are, however, hoping that Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) — the diamond mining company formed after the Chiadzwa miners were force-merged by government — will provide a facility for maintenance of the houses.

Joseph Sithole, a local, said his house was built with no concrete and only discovered recently that there was a plastic sheet under a thin flooring layer of cement.

Another local resident, Caiphas Mujuru, pleaded with the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company to also look into the welfare of the relocated residents, as they did not have any decent source of livelihoods to shoulder the costs of repairs.



Doctor, client fight spills into court

A PREMIER Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) doctor — Warning Mazhambe — has dragged his client to court for criminal defamation and extortion over a beerhall brawl.

Patience Mabhiza, 33, of Dangamvura appeared before magistrate Perseverance Makala facing criminal defamation and extortion charges.

She denies both charges. Mabhiza is being charged with criminal defamation as defined in Section 96 (1) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act chapter 9: 23 and extortion as defined by Section 134 (1) (a) of the same act.

She was remanded out of custody to January 5 for trial.

It is the State’s case that criminal defamation charges allegedly arise from an incident of December 3 at around 00:00 hours when Mazhambe was drinking beer at Motoring Club Mutare in the company of his friends while discussing football issues.

Mabhiza reportedly then approached him and started shouting at him alleging that he was publicising her health status at the bar.

That did not auger well with Mazhambe, who is mandated not to disclose any information pertaining the health status of anyone.

He made a report at Mutare Central Police Station alleging that Mabhiza acted in a way that caused serious harm to his professional reputation.

On the other hand, extortion charges allegedly arose from a December 15 incident where Mabhiza allegedly approached Maxwell Mushayamombe a customer relations officer at Psmas demanding a letter which confirmed that she had been medically examined by Mazhambe.

She purported to have been sent by the police.

Mushayamombe, however, referred her to one Amato Machikicho who told her that she could only get it if she had a written request from the police or a court order.

Mabhiza was allegedly infuriated by the decline that she threatened Machikicho warning that he will either be picked up by soldiers and police or she will go to the media and have him published.

Cuthbert Bhosha prosecuted.


Man bashes wife, arrested over firearms

A SAKUBVA man who bashed his wife was arrested for failing to secure his two guns after she informed police of his failure to properly safeguard them.

Peter Mavhiza, 56, of Sakubva appeared before magistrate Perseverance Makala facing charges of failing to secure a firearm and ammunition in contravention of Section 28 (2) of the Firearms Act Chapter 10:09.

Mavhiza kept his guns — a pistol and a rifle — in the wardrobe and under a bed.

It is the State’s case that on December 18 at 2000 hours, Mavhiza’s wife Chipo made a police report alleging domestic abuse resulting in his arrest.

She then also informed police on December 19 that Mavhiza had two unsecured firearms and ammunition.

Police reacted to the information and recovered a Galesi Pistol serial number 333056 with four .25mm rounds and a .22 rifle savage serial number BM0041 with 77 rounds which were under the bed and in the wardrobe respectively.

Enquiries with the Central Firearm Registry revealed that the guns were properly registered but only improperly secured.

Cuthbert Bhosha prosecuted.

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