Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Now the cleanup goes into rural areas


.....Sebastian Matema, headman for Matema village castigated the impending demolitions saying they were uncalled for. "I was born here and now I am 58 years old. We have been elbowed out of our fathers' land. Svinurai suburb has taken our fields," he said.

Ray Zhanje, the headman for Zhanje village asked: "I don't know what they mean when they say people will be removed. What will be the role of the chief?"

Farai Matema, who lives in Matema village, described the move as vindictive and retributive to perceived Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.

"We thought the operation was a clean-up in urban areas but for them to come to the rural areas is senseless. Where will we go? They are talking of development at growth points but there is no industry here (Dema) save for a few bottle stores,"

A 69-year-old woman who only identified herself as Mbuya Marikopo bemoaned the manner in which the government was acting and was worried about the graves of her relatives.

Scores of graves, which predate the road, are adjacent to the road.

Chief Seke pleaded for some of the houses to be spared but the DA dismissed his plight saying it was impossible to accede to his request.

"I am sorry chief, if they don't have the papers they will be removed," Mubaira said.

Meanwhile police continued to demolish housing structures around the country last week despite claims by the government that the controversial "clean-up" exercise had been stopped to pave way for the construction of houses.

The government launched "Operation Garikai/ Hlalani Kuhle" under which it says $3 trillion has been set aside for the building of houses to replace those demolished by the "clean-up exercise".

In Bulawayo, the demolitions were still taking place in the high-density suburbs of Gwabalanda, Luveve and Emakhandeni, while in Harare cottages were on Thursday destroyed in Westwood and Epworth.

The demolitions continued in the country despite the presence of UN special envoy, Anna Kajumalo Tibaijuka, who was here to assess the impact of the operation. She left Harare yesterday......

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