No end yet to Murambatsvina
Children play amid the ruins.
MBARE - The people of Mbare are busy now
smashing up the slabs and foundations of the cottages whose walls were destroyed
earlier. They have to dig deep holes to bury the rubble. People say, this is
because Kofi Annan is coming, and he is not supposed to see the
Some huge holes will have to be dug to hide all
the debris and rubble, at present lining the outer fringes of the township, left
over from the destruction of more or less half the living quarters of the Mbare
People not complying with these orders from the City of Harare
are fined one million dollars each.
Murambatsvina (Operation “Doing away
with the filth”, or Murambavanhu, as many prefer to say, “Operation “Doing away
with the people” ) is not over because there are still homeless people staying
in the open. Those who asked for transport to their rural homes are being
assisted by a church programme. But will they be able to survive when they get
Murambatsvina is not over because self-employed traders and
artisans are still barred from resuming their income-generating activities. They
are starving. Once the new school term starts in September many jobless,
homeless parents will not be able to pay the school fees for their children
which have gone up steeply recently. There will be more children out of school.
Murambatsvina will not be over for a long time because the effects will
be felt for a long time.
Meanwhile, in Durban the Southern African
Catholic Bishops’ Conference last week released an urgent appeal for a relief
operation in response to the food crisis in Zimbabwe.
“Deeply touched by
the enormous suffering of our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe who are
experiencing serious food shortages and lack of basic services, we appeal to all
the Catholics in Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland to generously respond to
the relief operation campaign in favour of the people of Zimbabwe,” said the
Catholic Bishops at the end of their plenary assembly held in
“We call on the members of the Church and the people of
goodwill to donate blankets, food and medicines to the relief operation
campaign. May the campaign receive the same support and spirit of self-giving
which inspired so many people to give generously to the Tsunami disaster
“Particularly we would like to keep in mind the hundreds of
thousands of people who have been rendered homeless by “Operation Remove the
Filth” and deprived of the means of livelihood by “Operation Clean Up”, who now
live in appalling conditions in transit camps.
“We call upon you, our
people, to pray earnestly for a more just government in Zimbabwe - a government
which will be committed to the wellbeing and human rights of all its
“The donations and humanitarian aid for the relief operation
campaign will be distributed to the needy people through the network of the
Catholic Church in Zimbabwe, in collaboration with the South African Council of