Harare Agric Show roars into life

The 2015 Harare Agricultural Show (ZAS), the leading agri-business and consumer exhibition in Zimbabwe, successfully kicked off in the capital city on Monday

Established in 1895, and operating from the Exhibition Park, ZAS is arguably the oldest and largest society of its kind in Zimbabwe.

With an estimated 800 000 visits to the Exhibition Park expected this year, the ZAS has established a solid record as a preferred facilitator and promoter of national agricultural development in Zimbabwe.

When Talking Harare visited the premier show on Tuesday morning, thousands of people were already inside the premises whilst exhibitors were busy attending to visitors.

“We are having a good number of visitors at our stand who want to inquire about community development work we have been doing in Kuwadzana Extension where family counseling and therapy sessions to those who cannot afford to pay for these is provided,” said Gertrude Mapara of Kuwadzana–based Succeed Integrated People’s Agency.

Miracle Missions leader Sharon Hook thanked people who have been attending to her organisation’s stand and explained the importance of social miracles to ordinary people. “A lot of people have been seeking spiritual assistance but they are not doing the same in looking for social miracles which are more important and vital to the development of the human being. People need to have social skills that help them face economic and social challenges they face on a daily basis,” explained Hook adding this year’s show was promising to bring more visitors.

Other exhibitors have said the agricultural show is a platform of showcasing their products and boost their business and services.

The theme for this year is 'Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Managing Climate Change.

Meanwhile, there is an entertainment galore at the show as artists like Jah Prayzah, Aleck Macheso, Winky D, Fungisai Zvakavapano – Mashavave, Leonard Zhakata and Judgement Yard will be performing live.

The history of Mbare

When Cecil John Rhodes’ Pioneers first settled around the Kopje and called their settlement Salisbury (now Harare), they wanted to build a “White” City. There was no space for the Indigenous Africans.

But their wives wanted “Cook Boys” and “Nannies” and the men wanted messengers and office orderlies (tea boys, factory workers and agricultural labourers). At first, African workers settled all over the place. That was considered dangerous.

So the “White City” decided to create a place for the local people after all. That was the beginning of Harari Township, as it was first called around 1900. Workers yes, but not their families. This was supposed to be a bachelors’ settlement. It was built close to the shops and offices in what is now the southern part of the Central Business District. Even today Mbare – as Harari Township is now called–is a popular address to have because it is close to town, where people work.

These allegedly ‘single men’ were housed in hostels, which are still a striking feature in Mbare to the right and left of Cripps Road. There was a long battle about allowing wives and families to join their husbands in ‘married quarters’ in what is now called ‘National’ in the southern part of Mbare.

While Harari Township was under colonial administration, families had to vacate their houses once the bread winner had died or lost employment. Widows were expected to move back to the rural areas, where they and their unborn children were strangers.

It was in Mbare that the workers first organised themselves in trade unions- even today, street names remind us of some of those brave early leaders like Charles Mzingeli- and eventually even in political movements. Being represented only on the official Advisory Councils did not achieve anything in the eyes of most residents. Harari (and Highfield Township) became the birthplace of nationalism.

The old Roman Catholic Church in Mbare (near Rufaro Stadium) was one of the first to open in 1910. (Fr Oskar Wemter)

High Court stops Budiriro demolitions

The High Court has granted an order to stop all house demolitions in Budiriro four forthwith. The Court application was lodged by the Combined Harare Residents Association through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. The application followed a series of house demolitions in Budiriro four which left hundreds of residents without a roof on their heads simultaneously losing property worth thousands of dollars due to obliteration and theft.

The demolitions were driven by Harare city council despite the fact that the local authority was present and “aware” of the constructions.
In giving his ruling, Justice Bere posited that
“…it is hereby ordered that, pending the determination by this honourable court of the issues referred herein above, it is ordered that;
1. The first respondent be, and is hereby barred from demolishing the applicants homes in Budiriro 4 in the absence of a court order from a competent court.
2. This order shall remain effective and in force notwithstanding the noting of an appeal.”

CHRA has already communicated with the city fathers alerting them of the illegality of the continued demolitions in the absence of a court order. It is the Associations argument that the houses earmarked for demolition, were build in the full knowledge of the city fathers hence they need to work out a regulatory framework that will benefit both the resident and council by way of amending the global layout plan. Secondly, the land barons responsible for allocating the land in question together with city authorities continue to walk free and nothing has been done to bring them to book.

CHRA will continue to lobby and advocate for good enough service delivery in Harare and beyond, on a non partisan basis (CHRA).

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