Thursday, August 18, 2005

Clean up of poor people resumes


In the wake of Zimbabwe's 'tsunami':
Operation Murambatsvina - the aftermath

Sokwanele Report: 13 August 2005

Operation Murambatsvina refugeesRobert Mugabe and those of his partners in crime responsible for the crime against humanity called Operation Murambatsvina, would like nothing better than that the media should move their attention on to other things. But that is the one thing the independent press and the international media must not do at any cost. Mugabe and his apologists would far prefer that Zimbabweans, and the world, should accept the fiction that the military operation is over, the deed is done, and the government is now engaged in the next (positive) phase of rebuilding. But that is so much fiction. The reality is altogether different, and for three reasons.

First, the destructive phase is not yet over, as reports from around the country confirm. Second, the so-called rebuilding phase, Operation Garikai, is patently nothing other than window dressing - frantic damage control by the regime, without any real substance, after a particularly damaging episode (from their point of view) of exposure to the truth. And third, the catastrophic consequences of Operation Murambatsvina are not yet over. Far from it. In fact, just as the full extent of the suffering caused by a natural tsunami only becomes evident some time after the tidal wave has struck, so are Zimbabweans only now beginning to see the huge damage inflicted by their man-made tsunami. There is still a story to be told. We dare not fall for the Mugabe fiction, and the world's free press dare not shy away because of the difficulties or dangers of following the story in a country under fascist rule....

...One of those most closely involved in this mission of mercy said that in his experience less than 5 per cent of those hurriedly dumped in remote locations had been able to secure a place they might again call "home" or even a prospect of shelter, food or the basic necessities of life. He related how many of the victims had been moved five or six times in recent weeks - from their original homes in Killarney or Ngozi Mine, to a church; then onwards to another church to link up with family members from whom they had become separated; before being forcibly removed by the riot police, first to the holding camp at Helensvale Farm and then onwards to a rural dumping place; and finally back, usually by foot, to somewhere close to where they had started from....
... Bulawayo pastors indeed confirmed to our reporter 6 known deaths closely related to Murambatsvina. And how many others, we ask, are still to come to light in this region or elsewhere, the more so in places where the Church has not played such a high profile role in support of the victims ? And how many others again whose deaths will just pass unnoticed and unrecorded ?

No, Murambatsvina is not over yet, and certainly the effects of the devastating aftermath will be felt for many years to come. For hundreds of thousands of victims life can never be the same again. Which makes it all the more important that we continue to track events on the ground closely, and to monitor and record as many as possible of the gross human rights abuses perpetrated. The world needs to know the scale of the disaster that is still unfolding, and human rights lawyers and others must continue to record the violations of national and international law so that, as Anna Tibaijuka, the UN Special Envoy has recommended, all those responsible will be held to account....

Ah yes...they will send them a wery nasty letter...

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