Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Clean up victims arrested for speaking to UN Envoy


Ever since the MDC alleged that the mayor of Mutare had been suspended for exposing cleanup victims to the UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka, other reports have surfaced that the police are arresting victims of the exercise suspected of having spoken to her as well. Most disturbing is a report from Mabvuku that the mother of a child who was crushed to death by falling bricks during the demolitions was taken by police.

It is believed that the woman is being punished for having told Tibaijuka about her ordeal. But other residents in her Mabvuku neighbourhood say she never saw the UN envoy in a situation where she was able to talk. Although no other specific cases have been confirmed, there are many allegations that other victims of these demolitions are being harassed and even locked up for a few days due to police suspicion that they exposed their experiences to outsiders.

Zimbabweans know very well that security guards routinely sleep outdoors near their jobs all week because it is too expensive to go home and come back. It has now become impossible to do so since the police are rounding up everyone seen outdoors and locking them up or shipping them out to unknown destinations. No-one without a so-called legal home is allowed to be in Harare.

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