Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Zim government to restart destroying houses


HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe authorities said on Tuesday they would resume a clean-up blitz to drive illegal vendors out of the capital, weeks after halting the exercise which sparked an international outcry.

Zimbabwe last month declared an end to its controversial demolitions of shantytowns, dubbed "Operation Restore Order", after a critical U.N. report said the operation had destroyed the homes or jobs of at least 700,000 people.

Harare City Council spokesman Lesley Gwindi told Reuters on Monday that municipal authorities were worried that street children and illegal traders had returned to the capital and were once again operating from unapproved sites.

"We are going to remove them, we will push them out," Gwindi said. "The question was always whether we will be able to sustain the order and cleanness that was brought about by the clean-up exercise and this is what we are doing," he said....

They are going to "push them out"?
I have Irish ancestors...who were "pushed out" when the potato crop failed and they could not pay the rent...many Irish died of cholera or hypothermia on the roads, or died in coffin ships going to America or the UK...and 150 years later, we still remember these things..

it is a sin to simply throw people out in the dead of winter with no place to go.....


With nowhere else to turn, some people are making their way back to their bulldozed homes.

...Some of the people evicted from their homes in Zimbabwean towns in recent weeks are trickling back to their destroyed homes, hoping to rebuild their lives and start afresh.

But many find that as soon as they start building on the site of their flattened shack, they are forced on to police trucks to be ferried out of town again....

Despite the government’s public claims that it has allocated people new housing plots, Ndongwe and many thousands of others have not benefited because they are unable to meet all the conditions. To apply for one of the limited places, they would need a rent card, a marriage certificate and a salary slip -- none of which people them are likely to possess....

Last week, the police came back, and loaded the Ndongwes and others onto trucks, and dumped them on the road to the eastern border city of Mutare.

As the transit camp at Caledonia Farm, inmates were ordered onto trucks last week and driven away to unknown destinations.

Also last week, police evicted hundreds of homeless families who had been given refuge in churches in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, where pastors and priests were providing temporary sanctuary for victims of Operation Murambatsvina.

Riot units raided the churches and loaded the dispossessed people into trucks. Police said they had instructions “from the bosses to take the victims to Tsholotsho", referring to a rural community in an area of severe drought some 120 km northwest of Bulawayo.

The police raids have deeply angered the Churches in Bulawayo, a coalition of churches which has come together because of the demolition programme and the resulting humanitarian crisis.

“The removal of the innocent, poor, weak, voiceless and vulnerable members of society by riot police was uncalled for and unnecessary,” said the coalition in a statement. “It is inhuman, brutal and insensitive and in total disregard of human rights and dignity.”

Meanwhile police barred churches and non-government groups from entering Helensvale Farm, a transit camp 20 km from Bulawayo that is the second largest holding facility for families whose homes have been bulldozered and burned in the city.

“There have been no provisions for the people at the transit camp since we were ordered off Helensvale farm,” said the Reverend Ray Motsi, a spokesman for the church coalition. “And we do not know what the people are eating now because we did not supply them with long-term food and other provisions. The reports we got from the camp are worrying.”.....

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