Tuesday, June 28, 2005

UN envoy fails to halt bulldozer

Unlike Rachel Corey, the martyr who lost her life standing in front of an Israeli bulldozer trying to flatten the home of a Palestinian suicide bomber, the UN envoy plans to visit the sites and later issue a report on the devestation...and if we are lucky, after discussing things for a couple of months, maybe, just maybe, the UN will issue a letter saying they are wery wery angwy...
UN envoy fails to halt bulldozer assault on Zimbabwe's poorest
From Jan Raath in Harare

THE arrival in Zimbabwe of a United Nations special envoy to investigate the State’s demolition of the “illegal” homes of up to a million people did little to interrupt President Mugabe’s bulldozers.

Around the time that Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the executive director of Habitat, the UN’s agency for shelter, landed in Harare on Sunday, government machines were wrecking the home of Goodrich Chimbaira, the MP of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in a large township constituency just south of the capital.

Charity officials reported that riot police, crews of demolition workers and bulldozers were active in other parts of Harare, as the operation entered its sixth week.

Mrs Tibaijuka said that the UN wanted to “see the impact of the operation called Murambatsvina (clear out the rubbish) and how we can assist the affected”.

Mr Mugabe, more in the habit of telling international figures to “go to hell”, welcomed Mrs Tibaijuka, asserting that he wanted the UN “to understand and appreciate what we are trying to do for our people, who deserve much better than the shacks that are now being romanticised as fitting habitats for them”.

He says that the campaign is to clear slums that have become havens for criminals. Witnesses say that the operation was launched with almost no warning and no provision of shelter or sustenance, and has forced tens of thousands to sleep out in the open in midwinter.

Mrs Tibaijuka’s visit has assumed critical international importance. Tony Blair said yesterday that he hoped her report on the crisis in Zimbabwe would be strong enough to bring the issue to the UN Security Council to censure Mr Mugabe formally.

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