The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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New York Times

Several Squatters Die as Zimbabwe Police Destroy Camp

Published: July 1, 2005

JOHANNESBURG, June 30 - The Zimbabwe police finished demolishing a squatter camp outside Harare that once had at least 10,000 residents on Thursday, killing as many as four people, a day after a United Nations envoy met with President Robert G. Mugabe to discuss the refugee crisis that similar mass evictions have set off.

Associated Press

Malvern Chishazhe, 7, cried Thursday after the Zimbabwe police razed his family's home at a squatter camp west of Harare. Demolition of the camp, which once housed 10,000 people, was completed on Thursday.

After three days of work, the police destroyed and burned the remains of the Porta Farm settlement, about 12 miles west of Harare, the capital. Mr. Mugabe's government established the camp more than a decade ago for homeless peasants who had migrated to the city seeking work.

Human rights and charitable groups said that two women had died in the demolition, but accounts of the circumstances conflicted. Amnesty International said the women fell from trucks taking evicted residents to tent camps. Another aid group said one of the women died from exposure. One or two children also were reported to have died, from exposure or after being hit by a truck.

The operation continued as Mr. Mugabe met Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, a United Nations special envoy sent to assess the impact of the mass evictions, which have left as many as half a million people homeless since the government began razing homes and flea markets in mid-May.

Ms. Tibaijuka toured demolished neighborhoods and met with Harare city officials and civic groups on Thursday, a news release from the United Nations said. She has not commented on her meeting with Mr. Mugabe, but state-controlled radio quoted him as telling her that the demolitions were "a long-cherished desire in order to clean the cities" of illegal settlers and traders that the government has said have bred crime and filth.

Human rights groups call the evictions an effort to rout the urban poor who supported Zimbabwe's democratic opposition in parliamentary elections in March, and to disperse people who might be tempted to lead protests against the government as Zimbabwe's economic collapse reaches new depths.

The government tried to combat new increases in the nation's triple-digit inflation rate on Wednesday by tripling the price of gasoline, to $1 a gallon, and raising fees for doctors' visits by a third. Gasoline and basic goods like ground corn and cooking oil have been all but unavailable outside the black market because government-set prices are too low to allow sellers to make a profit, and shortages of foreign currency make the goods difficult to import.

One charitable organization active in Africa, ActionAid International, said Thursday that its Africa director had visited the Porta Farm settlement as the demolition took place and had seen "fear, terror and despondency among the people" whose homes were destroyed.

Vast numbers of those made homeless by the demolition have been put up in tent camps outside Harare. But far more, ousted by evictions around the nation, have been forced to move to desperate rural areas or to sleep in the open.

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Source: African Union (AU)

Date: 29 Jun 2005

Press release: 29 Jun 2005 - Fact finding mission in Zimbabwe
Addis Ababa, 29 June 2005 - H.E. Alpha Oumar Konare, the Chairperson of the
African Union Commission, has designated Commissioner Bahame Tom Nyanduga, a
member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Special
Rapporteur, Responsible for Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Internally
Displaced Persons in Africa, to carry out a fact finding mission in Zimbabwe
between 30 June and 4 July 2005, following the clean up operation conducted
by the Government of Zimbabwe against illegally constructed houses and

During his mission, Commissioner Nyanduga is planning to meet with the
Zimbabwean authorities and relevant human rights organizations and to visit
the Hatcliffe, Mbare, Mufakose, and Chitungwiza surburbs and Caledonia farm
among other places, as well as any villages where the people whose shelters
were demolished have moved to, in order to assess the prevailing the

At the end of the mission, the Commissioner is expected to report back to
the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
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African food crisis spurs UN debate on Zimbabwe
Thu Jun 30, 2005 7:22 PM ET
By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS, June 30 (Reuters) - The United States and European nations
raised Zimbabwe's housing demolitions in the Security Council for the first
time on Thursday, using a debate on extreme hunger in southern Africa as an
means of getting the issue on the agenda.

But diplomats said most Council members were resisting discussion, saying
the Zimbabwe crisis is internal and not an international peace and security
issue. And African leaders have rejected Western condemnation of the forced
eviction of slum dwellers from urban areas.

"Up to 300,000 people have been made homeless and thousands of children are
forced to abandon school," said Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry.
"It is important to realize that this crisis has been caused by the action
of the Zimbabwean government. It is man-made and not a natural phenomenon."

Anne Patterson, the acting U.S. Ambassador, estimated 420,000 people were
homeless, many of them children.

"We stand ready to assist Zimbabwe with large-scale food assistance, as we
did in 2002-2004, but we strongly oppose government policies that are making
the problem worse, and we urge the government to end the slum demolition
campaign," Patterson said.

"Zimbabwe's self-inflicted economic meltdown affects trade, investment and
food security throughout southern Africa."

Denmark and Greece were also critical of Zimbabwe and France voiced concern
only about the food situation.

But Tanzania's deputy U.N. ambassador, Tuvako Nathaniel Manogi, said too
many people were shedding "crocodile years" as he had watched repeated pleas
for food assistance go unheeded in his country, which is flooded with

Worldwide food aid was also declining to the poorest of the poor nations
even though the number of hungry people was increasing. "The archives of
this organization are full of good intentions. We are all better at talking
than acting," he said.


James Morris, the executive director of the U.N. World Food Program told the
Council that "the greatest humanitarian crisis we face today" was not in
Darfur, Afghanistan or North Korea but the disintegration of the social
structures in southern Africa and accompanying hunger.

"A lethal mix of AIDS, recurring drought and failing governance is eroding
social and political stability," he said, "Life expectancy in much of
southern Africa is barely more than it was in Europe during the Middle

The number of people needing food aid in southern Africa soared from 3.5
million people at the beginning of the year to 8.3 million today because of
the reoccurring drought.

Morris, a former businessman from India, said 4 million Zimbabweans urgently
needed food and the country intended to import 1.2 million metric tons of
cereal grains, most of the 1.8 tons it needs.

He said he expected the harvest in Zimbabwe to yield 400,000 to 600,000 tons
(tonnes) and said WFP would contribute 300,000 tons.

But Morris said he had made clear to President Robert Mugabe that WFP and
its partners would not accept restrictions. "I have to say we have been able
to do our work," he said.

"Our job is to feed the hungry and the at-risk population," he said. "We
leave the political issues for others to resolve."

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The Zimbabwean
Official media ignores urban purge
This is typical of how thousands of people are living now, having had their houses trashed - they retrieve some marata or asbestos and then make a "kennel" in which to sleep.
HARARE - In a sharp critique of local coverage of the razing and torching of township homes and markets by police and soldiers, the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe said that all the state-controlled media have endorsed the operation, and ignored both the human suffering and the international outcry.
“Only private media reported on local and international condemnation of the programme, and exposed the brutal and inhumane nature of the ‘clearances’,” the project said in a report on the June 13-19 coverage.

“The passive nature of the official media’s coverage was illustrated by the way in which they only echoed or amplified government’s justification for the ‘clean-up’ by mainly depicting the authorities as working flat out to ensure that no one was disadvantaged by the operation,” it added.

The report cited Power FM, ZTV and the Chronicle, for example, as using “fatuous comments” from the Zimbabwe Institute of Regional and Urban Planners and the Urban Councils’ Association of Zimbabwe to suffocate the real scale of the human suffering.

ZTV quoted the Urban Planners group as urging “environmental stakeholders to maintain the glow that has been awarded to cities by the clean-up exercise,” while the Urban Councils defended the denial of shelter as a “bitter medicine that healed people.” But Police Chief Augustine Chihuri best illustrated the regime’s contempt for the victims of Murambatsvina by describing them in the Herald as a “crawling mass of maggots.”

In contrast, most of 62 stories carried in the private media continued to focus on the suffering, and carried local and international criticism including from the UN, the EU and church leaders, the report said. Just the Daily Mirror expressed support and urged extending the purges to illegal gold panners.

The state media also portrayed the authorities as providing alternative accommodation, failed to give any idea of the huge number of people who have lost their homes, or of the outcry of the confiscation of merchandise and other property. The Independent, however, reported that the authorities had barred humanitarian groups from helping thousands of homeless families because they feared this would be an acknowledgement of the humanitarian crisis.
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The Zimbabwean

Mugabe loves Queen but not Blair
LONDON - President Mugabe says he has tremendous respect for the Queen and
the royal family, but he regards (prime minister) Tony Blair as a bully. In
a wide-ranging interview with the Nigerian-owned, British-based magazine New
African Mugabe sent signals that he was prepared to open discussions with
the British government to resolve differences between Zimbabwe and its
former colonial masters.
"We have tremendous respect for the Queen. Every member of the royal family
has been to Zimbabwe. We have souvenirs of all their visits here. But not so
their man Mr Blair. but we are open - we have never refused to talk to any
member of Blair's government," said Mugabe.

The interview, one of only a handful Mugabe has given during the past 12
months, seems to confirm the rumours of clandestine, low-level talks between
Whitehall and Harare recently.

"If he (Blair) wants to open his doors and he wants us to open our doors.
Fine. His people can come here. My people can go to London and . mend our
relations. But of course he's a bully and bullies are not known to change
their ways unless someone can actually knock them into submission," he said.

This is the first time in more than five years that Mugabe has said publicly
he is prepared to mend fences with the British. It would appear his
much-touted Look East policy has not returned the rewards he had hoped for.
Zimbabwe has merely become a net consumer of cheap Chinese products and
military hardware. In the interview Mugabe boasted that he had caused
Britain to lose business by grounding the Zimbabwe airforce's British-made
Hawk jets in favour of the Chinese lookalike K8 fighters.

Mugabe's tortured love-hate relationship with the British has long been
evidenced by his penchant for Saville Row suits, Rolls Royce vehicles and
pomp and ceremony. But he told the New African Zimbabwe would never rejoin
the Commonwealth, describing it as "a useless body which had treated
Zimbabwe in a dishonourable manner".

He claimed to have told Prince Charles at the funeral of Pope John Paul II
in Rome recently that he was prepared to mend relations with "a Britain that
is not Blair's Britain".

"That is what I told Prince Charles when we met in Rome - but please don't
put him into trouble," he said.

Turning to relations with America, Mugabe revealed his gender prejudice by
saying of Condoleezza Rice (whom he has previously referred to as 'that girl
born of slave ancestry'): "Oh no I wouldn't have her even for a girlfriend
would I?"
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The Zimbabwean

Streetkids drafted by youth militia
The last photograph of Adolf Hitler showed a decrepit old man - he was only
56 in 1945 - patting the cheeks of 12 and 13-year-old boys in Nazi uniforms
just before the collapse of Berlin.
Perhaps Robert Mugabe - 82 next February - wants to be remembered that way.

Confidential reports obtained from Harare show that the ruling party, Zanu
(PF), has put together a plan that involves drafting tens of thousands of
unemployed, often tramatised "streekids" into a neo-Nazi style MugabeYouth

They will be rounded up in towns, sent to rural areas for "ideological
re-education" and then out into uniform. They will patrol the streets of
Harare, Bulawayo and other urban areas looking for "dissidents," members of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and suspicious looking
foreigners, I was told.

If the youngsters - who have no home other than warm sewers at night or
disused warehouses and garages where they live out of dustbins or what they
can steal- refuse to volunteer they will be press-ganged into the new youth

Mugabe and his cabinet of stooges approved the plan in March after Zanu (PF)
swept back to power in a general election that was marred by intimidation
and violence against the opposition.

Sources in Zanu (PF) said the plan looked good on paper - to rid the streets
of troublemakers and clean them up and give them an understanding of their
country's history. Streetkids regularly harass city residents, robbing,
molesting and in some cases raping lone women.

"But unless these kids are tightly controlled and organized, they will
become a law unto themselves," said a media source who asked not to be
named. "Many of us now believe Mugabe has gone too far and we would like to
link up with a well-organized opposition to stop him - but there is no
organized opposition here."

The Government, of course, denies that kids recruited into the Mugabe Youth
will persecute political opponents. "They will be taught the country's
history and how Robert Mugabe saved us from white terrorists," I was
informed during a telephone interview with a ruling party source in Harare.
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The Zimbabwean

EU banned list
BRUSSELS - The following is the latest list of Zimbabwean officials subject
the EU's travel restrictions:
1.Mugabe, Robert Gabriel

2. Bonyongwe, Happyton
Director-General Central Intelligence Organisation

3. Bhuka Flora
Minister for Special Affairs responsible for Land and Resettlement

4. Chapfika, David
Deputy Minister of Finance

5. Charamba, George
Permanent Secretary Department for Information and Publicity

6. Charumbira, Fortune Zefanaya
Former Deputy Minister for Local Government

7. Chigudu, Tinaye
Provincial Governor: Manicaland

8.Chigwedere, Aeneas Soko
Minister of Education, Sports and Culture

9. Chihota, Phineas
Deputy Minister for Industry and International Trade

10. Chihuri, Augustine
Police Commissioner

11. Chimbudzi, Alice
ZANU (PF) Politburo Committee Member

12. Chimutengwende, Chen
Minister of State for Public and Interactive Affairs

13. Chinamasa, Patrick Anthony
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs

14. Chindori-Chininga, Edward Takaruza
Former Minister of Mines and Mining Development

15. Chipanga, Tongesai Shadreck
(Former Deputy Minister of Home Affairs)

16. Chitepo, Victoria
ZANU (PF) Politburo Committee Member

17. Chiwenga, Constantine
Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General

18. Chiweshe, George
Chairman, ZEC (Supreme Court Judge and Chairman of the controversial
delimitation committee)

19. Chiwewe, Willard
Provincial Governor: Masvingo

20. Chombo, Ignatius Morgan Chininya
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing

21. Dabengwa, Dumiso
ZANU (PF) Politburo Senior committee Member

22. Damasane, Abigail
Deputy Minister for Women's Affairs

23. Goche, Nicholas Tasunungurwa
Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

24. Gombe, G
Chairman, Electoral Supervisory Commission

25. Gula-Ndebele, Sobuza
Former Chairman of Electoral Supervisory Commission

26. Gumbo, Rugare Eleck Ngidi
Minister of Economic Development

27. Hove, Richard
ZANU (PF) Politburo Secretary for Economic Affairs

28. Hungwe, Josaya (a.k.a Josiah) Dunira
Former Provincial Govenor: Masvingo

29. Jokonya, Tichaona
Minister of Information and Publicity

30. Kangai, Kumbirai
ZANU(PF) Politburo Committee Member

31. Karimanzira, David Ishemunyoro Godi
Provincial Governor: Harare

32. Kasukuwere, Saviour
Deputy Minister for Youth Development & Employment Creation

33. Kaukonde, Ray
Provincial Governor: Mashonaland East

34. Kuruneri, Chrisopher Tichaona
Former Minister of Finance and Economic development

35. Langa, Andrew
Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism

36. Lesabe, Thenjiwe V.
ZANU(PF) Politburo Secretary for Women's Affairs

37. Machaya, Jason (a.k.a Jaison) Max Kokerai
Former Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development

38. Made, Joseph Mtakwese
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

39. Madzongwe, Edna (a.k.a. Edina)
ZANU (PF) Politburo Deputy Secretary for Production and Labour

40. Mahofa, Shuvai Ben
Former Deputy Minister for Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation

41.Mahoso, Tafataona
Chair, Media Information Commission

42. Makoni, Simbarashe
ZANU(PF) Politburo Deputy Secretary General for Economic Affairs

43. Malinga, Joshua
ZANU(PF) Politburo Deputy Secretary for Disabled and Disadvantaged

44. Mangwana, Paul Munyaradzi
Minister of State

45. Manyika, Elliot Tapfumanei
Minister without Portfolio

46. Manyonda, Kenneth Vhundukai
Former Deputy Minister of Industry and International Trade

47. Marumahoko, Rueben
Deputy Minister for Home Affairs

48. Masawi, Ephrahim Sango
Provincial Governor: Mashonaland Central

49. Masuku, Angeline
Provincial Governor: Matabeleland South

50. Mathema, Cain
Provincial Governor: Bulawayo

51. Mathuthu, Thokozile
Provincial Governor: Matabeleland North

52. Matiza, Joel Biggie
Deputy Minister for Rural Housing and Social Amenities

53. Matonga, Brighton
Deputy Minister for Information and Publicity

54. Matshalaga, Obert
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

55. Midzi, Amos Bernard (Mugenva)
Minister of Mines and Mining Development

56. Mnangagwa, Emmerson Dambudzo
Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities

57. Mohadi, Kembo Campbell Dugishi
Minister of Home Affairs

58. Moyo, Jonathan
Former Minister of State for Information and Publicity

59. Moyo, July Gabarari
Former Minister of Energy and Power Development

60. Moyo, Simon Khaya
Ambassador to South Africa

61. Mpofu, Obert Moses
Minister for Industry and International Trade

62. Msika, Joseph W.

63. Msipa, Cephas George
Provincial Govenor: Midlands

64. Muchena, Olivia Nyembesi (a.k.a. Nyembezi)
Minister of State for Science and Technology

65.Muchinguri, Oppah Chamu Zvipange
Minister for Women's Affairs

66. Mudede, Tobaiwa (Tonneth)
Registrar General

67. Mudenge, Isack Stanilaus Gorerazvo
Minister of Higher Tertiary Education

68. Mugabe, Grace
Spouse of Robert Gabriel Mugabe

69. Mugabe, Sabina
ZANU(PF) Politburo Senior Committee Member

70. Muguti, Edwin
Deputy Minister for Health and Child Welfare

71. Mujuru, Joyce Teurai Ropa
Vice President

72. Mujuru, Solomon T.R.
ZANU(PF) Politburo Senior Committee member

73. Mumbengegwi, Samuel Creighton
Former Minister of Industry and International Trade

74. Mumbengegwi, Simbarashe
Minister of Foreign Affairs

75. Murerwa, Herbert Muchemwa
Minister of Finance

76. Mushohwe, Christopher Chindoti
Minister of Transport and Communications

77. Mutasa, Didymus Noel Edwin
Minister for National Security

78. Mutezo, Munacho
Minister for Water Resources and Infrastructural Development

79. Mutinhiri, Ambrose
Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation

80. Mutiwekuziva, Kenneth Kaparadza
Deputy Minister of Employment Creation

81. Muzenda, Tsitsi V.
ZANU(PF) Politburo Senior Committee Member

82. Muzonzini, Elisha

83. Ncube, Abedinico
Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

84. Ndlovu, Naison K.
ZANU(PF) Politburo Secretary for Production and Labour

85. Ndlovu, Richard
ZANU (PF) Politburo Deputy Commissariat

86. Ndlovu, Sikhanyiso
ZANU(PF) Politburo Deputy Secretary for commissariat

87. Nguni, Sylvester
Deputy Minister for Agriculture

88. Nhema, Francis
Minister of Environment and Tourism

89. Nkomo, John Landa
Speaker of Parliament

90. Nyambuya, Michael Reuben
Minister for Energy and Power Development

91. Nyanhongo, Magadzire Hubert
Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications

92. Nyathi, George
ZANU (PF) Politburo Deputy Secretary of Science and Technology

93. Nyoni, Sithembiso Gile Glad
Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Employment Creation

94. Parirenyatwa, David Pagwese
Minister of Health and Child Welfare

95. Patel, Khantibhal
ZANU (PF) Politburo Deputy Secretary for Finance

96. Pote, Selina M.
ZANU(PF) Politburo Deputy Secretary for Gender and Culture

97. Rusere, Tino
Deputy Minister for Mines and Mining Development

98. Sakabuya, Morris
Deputy Minister for Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development

99. Sakupwanya, Stanley
ZANU(PF) Politburo Secretary for Health and Child Welfare

100.Samkange, Nelson Tapera Crispen
Provincial Governor: Mashonaland West

101. Sandi or Sachi, E.(?)
ZANU(PF) Politburo Deputy Secretary for Women's Affairs

102. Savanhu, Tendai
ZANU (PF) Deputy Secretary for Transport and Social Welfare

103.Sekeramayi, Sydney (a.k.a. Sidney) Tigere
Minister of Defence

104. Sekeremayi, Lovemore
Chief Elections Officer

105. Shamu, Webster
Minister of State for Policy Implementation

106. Shamuyarira, Nathan Marwirakuwa
ZANU(PF) Politburo Secretary for Information and Publicity

107. Shiri, Perence
Air Marshal (Air Force)

108. Shumba, Isaiah Masvayamwando
Deputy Minister of Education, Sports and Culture

109. Sibanda, Jabulani
Former Chair, National War Veterans Association

110. Sibanda, Misheck Julius Mpande
Cabinet Secretary

111. Sibanda, Phillip Valerio
Commander Zimbabwe National Army

112. Sikosana, Absolom
ZANU(PF) Politburo Secretary for Youth Affairs

113. Stamps, Timothy
Health Advisor in the Office of the President

114. Tawengwa, Solomon Chirume
ZANU(PF) Politburo Deputy Secretary for Finance

115. Tungamirai, Josiah T.
Minister of State for Indigenisation and Empowerment

116. Udenge, Samuel
Deputy Minister of Economic Development

117. Utete, Charles
Chairman of the Presidential Land Review Committee

118. Zimonte, Paradzai
Prisons Director

119. Zhuwao, Patrick
Deputy Minister for Science and Technology (NB Mugabe's nephew)

120. Zvinavashe, Vitalis
Retired General (former Chief of Defence Staff)
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The Zimbabwean

Medals for conquering the people

I am sitting in a safe foreign country, having left my cruel, beloved
homeland many years ago. I could not stand the cruelty at that time, so I
decided to leave. Now I sit here, watching President Robert Gabriel Mugabe,
sitting with Grace Mugabe, his wife, in an open Rolls Royce, made in
England, the country Mr Mugabe hates most. And he
is opening a parliament, and going to make a crucial speech. The officials
of parliament, including the judges, are paraded, looking more English than
the English judges themselves in wigs whose origin no one knows. And
ministers of government are dressed in immaculate suits as police mount an
armed guard of honour.

Outside, just kilometres outside, children sleep in the open, with tears on
their faces, and hunger in their bodies, forsaken by the political leaders
who are in this sham parade. Leaders who specialize in impeccable English to
describe their own power minus the will of the poor and homeless.

All so British. And Mr Mugabe himself, with so many medals on his chest I
cannot figure out how he got them and for what achievements. When I
seriously think of it, I last saw the same parade of military medals on one
Idi Amin of Uganda many years ago. I could not hesitate to think that the
medals were well-deserved. The reason for awarding himself so many of them:
conquering his own people. Mr Mugabe has indeed, done that, and he is
prepared to do more and appear more like a British general than an African

Outside Parliament, I saw eyes looking at it all in disbelief. They could
not believe that this is the man who had come into their aspirations as a
liberator, and now has employed all the dictatorial rules and techniques in
the technology of torturing people and ideas. The people were over-awed by
it all. I am also over-awed by the whole spectacle.

A little further on in the pictures racing through my mind, I hear the
voices of children who cannot go to school anymore because what they called
home has been demolished under the orders of this man who calls himself an
African liberator. I can see the many pictures in the world's newspapers
describing the sorrow on the faces and in the hearts of stunned children who
have been left to die in the cold winter nights of the cities of Zimbabwe.

And as a poet, I cannot avoid hearing the sounds of the bulldozers as the
President justifies the cruelty of his government, the sad tears which wear
so heavily on the hearts of those who have, for the first time, been called
'filth'. Under Mr Mugabe's government, the people struggling to make ends
meet are now 'filth', 'Operation Murambatsvina' (Operation Reject the

For the first time in Zimbabwe, the people have become 'filth'. But if there
is any filth to talk about, it should be the filth of the ideas and economic
policies Mr Mugabe has stood for all these years. The homeless have been
increasing so rapidly in the past 10 years that any sensitive and humane
political leader would have asked himself a few serious questions in
self-evaluation. Apparently, Mr Mugabe is not in the habit of
self-examination. He is a demi-god who has never, in 25 years of misrule,
admitted making a mistake.

Chilean poet, Publo Neruda once wrote:
'come and see
come and see, the blood
come and see the blood in the streets.'

Neruda was talking of the deaths in the cities of Chile. And we thought it
was far out there, in South America. But how wrong we were and how wrong
those who thought our oppressive political regime had ended with the demise
of Ian Smith. Come and see the bulldozers in our streets. Come and see the
armed police demolish houses and shacks where people live. Come and see the
tears in the streets. Come and see the police smiling, demolishing their
mothers' homes, their sisters' homes.

The cruelty of it all. In the sixties when I was a young boy, I saw
bulldozers push houses to rubble as Ian Smith claimed to be bringing a road
through the village. At that time we knew that Mr Smith was not one of us.
We did not expect any better. He could not inflict that kind of pain on his
'white' compatriots. For us, we were happy to remain alive. He had no
obligation at all to us.

In the end, we have all been declared rubble, filth, by a government which
does not want to be given lessons on democracy and human rights by anyone in
the world. That is African democracy, the Mugabe way. That is what
powerlessness means in a 'free' country which was 'liberated' by one so

The cruelty of choosing winter to demolish houses where people live is
amazing, inflicting so much pain and despair on a people already shattered
by their betrayed dreams. The sadism is incomprehensible. Punishing the
people when it hurts most.

Our country experienced this kind of tyranny during Ian Smith's time. But Mr
Smith never lied to us that he loved us. Mr Mugabe lied to us that he was
giving us dignity and love. We praised his ascent to power because we
thought our dignity had arrived. But no, we discover now that we are on our
own, with police knocking on our doors at midnight, teargassing us for
trying to survive the harsh economic conditions imposed on us by Mr Mugabe's
rule. All we are supposed to do is to sit home and wait to die.

Zimbabweans are blamed all over the world for being too subdued, too
well-mannered, just accepting anything without protest. Maybe those who say
that about us are right. We are too tolerant, and we only burst at the
extreme moment. And Mr Mugabe is making every effort to create that extreme
moment. Mr Smith too, was like that, claiming all the time: 'My Africans are
the happiest in the world.' He had lost a sense of reality and I have no
doubt that President Mugabe has followed suit.

Does the government of Mr Mugabe go to sleep comfortably when children are
facing death in the open? And if they do, as Leslie Gwindi, of the imposed
Harare City Commission says, then where is the rule of conscience? The rule
of conscience creates justice. But if power makes leaders' consciences decay
so fast, 25 years, then Zimbabweans are now in hell.

I urge all people of dignity and conscience, writers, journalists, police
officers, to refuse to have our dignity taken away so easily. We need to
fight to get our dignity back. We have no guns. Our guns are the voices and
public forums, which we should all use in order to reclaim our dignity back.
I believe we can no longer take our dignity for granted. Our hearts and
souls have bled enough under a government which has totally forgotten its
moral and spiritual responsibility.

Chenjerai Hove is a Zimbabwean writer living in Europe
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The Zimbabwean

Replace Zezuru Empire with National Unity Coalition
GWERU - Long-suffering Zimbabweans have once again been brought to their
knees by the actions of their insensitive, cruel and selfish rulers. Their
arrogance is evident in the manner Robert Mugabe reacts in this crisis. He
goes gallivanting across the seas on forages of no consequence. He allocates
scarce foreign currency to acquiring jet fighters and arms of war. What kind
of a father goes to buy a gun when his own family is starving? The only
conceivable enemy of Mugabe's government is its own hungry people.
The arrogance and insensitivity of Robert Mugabe and his party does not end
there. Zimbabweans watched in horror on Independence day seeing people like
Solomon Mutsvairo and Bernard Chidzero being bestowed with the honours. The
only explanation can be tribalism. We do not forget the wartime Zezuru
clique of Mutsvairo, Chidzero, Mugabe, Shamuyarira etc. and what it stood

Once Mugabe decides he wants something he will eliminate ruthlessly anything
that stands in his way, even friends and comrades. I am not surprised that
he is treating his countrymen like trash today. He was my teacher at one
time in my life. And remember, too, it is his regime that gunned me down at
point-blank range, living me with scars that I will carry to my grave.

A further five years with Mugabe will only damage our economy irreparably.
It is therefore common sense that instead of building the Zezuru empire
which he is busy doing, Zimbabwe should formulate a government of national
unity in which the MDC is an active partner. This coalition government will
incorporate more civil society organisations than useless politicians.

I am looking at a government in which people like Madhuku, Matchava-Hove,
Eric Bloch, John Robertson, Danny Meyer and other such economic and
political experts are incorporated. These people would be entrusted with the
running of the interim government and prepare a new constitution within six
or so months, establish an independent electoral commission which will
invite regional and international observers to come and freely observe the
conduct of a smooth electoral process.

According to my plan, Mugabe would be retired with full benefits and even a
little extras and with full security of his life. I say this because if he
dies before he retires, this country will be thrown to the vultures - those
who are waiting to take power at all cost, those who have already wanted to
topple him. If Tsholotsho had succeeded, this country would be in turmoil.
There could have been an ethnic, regional or tribal war. The Manyikas,
Karangas and the Ndebele will close ranks for they have been tortured for a
long time.

So, the sooner we have a smooth and democratic hand over of power from
Mugabe, the better. If he wants his children, the Chatungas, to live happily
ever after he is gone, then he must accommodate us before his death. Robert
taught me and I am prepared to forgive him although I may not forget. But I
do not want to see his sons and daughters being punished by my sons and
daughters after our death. (Ngozi inoripwa neropa chete).

Dr Kombayi was regional chairman of ZANU while in exile in Lusaka, he is now
MDC spokesman, Midlands South.
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The Zimbabwean

What can YOU do to help?
SW Radio Africa's weekly columnist, Dr. Stanford Mukasa, calls upon
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to organize a sustained campaign against Mugabe.
The news that students at Michigan State University have launched a campaign
to have Robert Mugabe's honorary degree revoked marks an important step in
the struggle against the 81-year-old dictator.

It also shows what Zimbabweans in Diaspora and their friends can do. In the
case of Michigan State University the onslaught against Mugabe is being led
by the Student Government. The students have also set up a website, where
they have exposed the Mugabe regime's crimes against the people of Zimbabwe.

This community -based approach is the key to a sustained anti-Mugabe
campaign. There are several similar grassroots strategies that have been
adopted in the United Kingdom, South Africa and elsewhere. But so far these
campaigns are isolated and relatively few.
It has been argued that the unwillingness by the people of Zimbabwe to
launch mass protest against Mugabe has led to less interest to help by the
international community.

As a result Mugabe and his cronies have had an easy ride so far. In the
absence of effective pressures from the international community, Mugabe
feels he can do anything he wants in Zimbabwe. The whole country is now
Mugabe's personal property, and Zimbabweans are now Mugabe's guests.

The current cruel destruction of peoples' properties which has left nearly
one million people homeless and hungry is a clear indication that Mugabe
feels no restraint whatsoever from anyone. He is like a bull in a China shop
and is bent on destroying anything he feels like.

It's not that Zimbabweans do not have the strength to fight Mugabe. Yet one
81-year-man is able to impose his whims on the entire population. Yes,
Mugabe has an army, police, the militia thugs. But none of these can be an
effective and enduring match against a determined street protest involving
thousands of people.

While the Zimbabwe Ruins was often used to refer to the remains of an
ancient kingdom, whoever comes after Mugabe will inherit a Zimbabwe
literally in ruins.

Zimbabwe is now a class society and the struggle therefore is not merely a
political struggle based on party, ethnic or ideological lines. It is now an
economic struggle to control the wealth of the country. This is the essence
of a class society. And it can be proved by the fact that Zimbabwe now has a
few filthy rich people who cut across party, racial, ethnic, tribal,
religious or ideological lines; and a large mass of dirt poor people who
have been reduced to stone age scavengers.

May I suggest some practical things people can do to protest against Mugabe's

1. Talk to local churches, community and social gatherings. In discussing
the Zimbabwean situation it helps to give similar examples where people have
suffered under a dictatorship, like in the former Yugoslavia. Sometimes
people will understand one situation better if its circumstances are
compared to a similar situation elsewhere.

2. Write to your local Member of Parliament or senator or representative.
Once in a while write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and
highlight the crisis in Zimbabwe. Or, if possible, make yourself available
for a TV or radio interview in your community.

3. Link up with other Zimbabweans in your community so you can organize
group projects like demonstrations or vigils.

There are a lot more strategies one can undertake. The most important point
is that every Zimbabwean bears a heavy responsibility towards democratizing

Letter from America with Dr Stanford Mukasa is broadcast on SW Radio Africa
on Mondays on the internet and on medium wave on
Tuesdays between 5 and 7 am on 1197khz
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The Zimbabwean

Case studies - post Murambatsvina
LONDON - Watching George Shiri strut his stuff last week on British
television, where the interview was juxtaposed with images of destroyed
shacks, homes and informal businesses in Zimbabwe, was instructive.
Shiri is bound by some sort of contract, either of conscience or political
patronage or both, to say that the destruction was a good thing, a necessary
exercise, not unusual in today's world. Zimbabwe was being unjustly singled
out for criticism, he said.

The voice over, from a South African representative of the Democratic
Alliance pleaded with him to remember that the people affected by the
destruction were human beings - not mere mechanical objects, things without
feelings. (Hmmm! Did he need to know this?)

George Shiri, as articulate a political propagandist as ever was born, has
for many years been the favourite of British broadcasters in their attempts
to balance their reportage on Zimbabwe's ongoing crisis. He has appeared
regularly at Britain Zimbabwe Society's conferences - among many other
venues - his unmistakable style of refusing to stop talking, shouting down
his critics with a barrage of Zanu (PF)'s anti-imperialist parrot cries
always in evidence.

The man has huge lung capacity and strong nerves. We can expect to hear his
voice rising from beneath a mound of sweet smelling flowers covering the
rotting corpses of the victims of Zimbabwe's version of politico-ethnic

Rising above that voice may be the wild celebrations of the rich and
super-rich owners of whatever formal businesses have survived Mugabe's
25-year misrule. The competition from informal traders has been vanquished;
they and new investors must expect the profits of formal trading to soar.

Housing the workers

If the projection of clean cities devoid of street kids, illegal currency
dealers and informal traders comes to fruition and if commerce and industry
flourishes again in the urban and peri-urban environment there will
inevitably arise the question of housing and services for the workers.
Government will have to budget for the cost, which hitherto has been found
by the workers themselves - hence the shanty-towns.

Here is an interesting corollary with the agricultural scenario of the past
five years - it makes you think that there is a five-year plan in somebody's
mind. There was a time when poor commercial farmers and struggling miners
left their workers to put up their own primitive 'pole and dagga' huts,
using natural materials: local timber for supporting walls and making doors,
straw for roofing, and clay and animal dung for walling and flooring. Water
was drawn from rivers and small dams and sanitation was dangerous to health.

Times changed and, as wealth increased, there were schools, clinics and
houses built of farm bricks or better, frequently provided by the employer -
the farmers and the mining industry. Boreholes, wells and even reticulated
water pipes and taps and were not unusual. The septic tank and the Blair
toilet took care of sanitation.

What is the immediate future in either town or country for workers and the
self-employed whose homes have been trashed? Will they have to live like
animals in the forest or squeeze into the already overcrowded homes of urban
relatives whose houses remain standing?

Isn't there something else missing here? The funds required by local
government and by rural councils to provide housing are generated by taxes
of one sort or another. Who is going to be paying these huge taxes in the
interim? Are there expectations of massive donor funding?

Commercial investors, even Chinese newcomers, are surely not expected to
find the entire cost of housing their workers. If the earnings of labour are
to be sufficient for workers to afford to put up their own modern housing of
a standard better than the destroyed makeshift edifices of Hatcliffe,
Tafara, Chitungwiza, Mabvuku, Pelandaba, Dangamvura and the rest throughout
the country, somebody should be doing some serious financial calculations.

Those are the practicalities. An extreme irony is to be found in the new
situation where Zanu (PF)'s vaunted Socialism is yet to be born. My
understanding is that a country's exchequer has to be pretty well-endowed
before it can afford the kind of state support that well run health and
housing policies require.

Where is the master plan? When can we expect to hear about it?
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The Zimbabwean
Devastation in Chitungwiza
After sinking his life's savings into it, an Mbare man is forced by police to destroy his brick home.
CHITUNGWIZA - The continuous wailing of a police siren disrupted the usual Sunday morning activities in Chitungwiza. Anxious residents lined up along the main road. Even the most defiant of spirits fell at the sight of the long formation of police and municipal vehicles coming up the highway. There were 51 in all; an assortment of Mercedes, Santanas and lorries.
Graders and tippers were included in the lineup to highlight the purpose behind this grim spectacle. Police officers in riot gear glared malevolently at onlookers as the convoy passed. Observing the motorcade snaking through the suburb, one would have been forgiven for thinking the nation’s fuel crisis had been resolved. After all, no well-meaning local authority would sanction such flagrant abuse of a scarce commodity.

The procession had the intended effect. There was a rush to dismantle asbestos sheets as well as door and window frames where possible. Furniture was broken and scratched as others lugged out personal belongings in a bid to salvage as much as they could. Clearly any damage done by their hurried efforts would be minor compared to that promised by the heavy demolition machinery.

Yet even as their neighbours hammered away, some were reluctant to take apart their homes.

“Why bother, they are not coming back. The parade was merely orchestrated to instill fear,” a young man said dismissively. Less than two hours later, he too was breaking down walls - under the watchful eye of a group of officers.

Those who, for reasons ranging from pregnancy to old age, failed to remove their construction materials and assets could do nothing but watch as the graders tore into their property indiscriminately. Outdoor toilets too were also destroyed, adding to the woes of an area with the most unreliable sewage system.

Stacks of furniture, old and new, littered the roads making it impossible for vehicles and pedestrians to pass. Shortcuts through alleys were blocked and those fortunate enough to find places to store their belongings, had to carry their property piece by piece round the long routes.

It had been widely anticipated that the residents of Chitungwiza would put up some form of resistance to the razing of their homes. This political hotbed is famous for its spirited opposition against the ruling party’s machinations. The meekness with which they submitted to the exercise was surprising.

A distraught Mai Ngoni, a flea market vendor whose wares were confiscated by police a week earlier remarked: “Ukaona uchirikuchema, hausati warwadziwa.”

Her sentiments summed up the general feeling; Zimbabweans have reached a point of utter dejection, where even tears have become futile.

There are no exact figures of how many were rendered homeless. Tenants in St Mary’s, as in other high-density suburbs, far outnumbered landlords. A conservative ratio would be 1:6. Even this might be proved grossly inaccurate as sometimes a family of eight squeezed into one room.

By the end of the day the landscape had changed dramatically; a stand with no outside rooms was an oddity here, with some properties accommodating up to six different families. Now in most places all that remained were the original core houses, simple three roomed structures, standing amidst the rubble of demolished outbuildings.

There were so many sorry sights that evening: the aging widow bemoaning the fact that with no lodgers (since her four outside rooms were gone) she would be unable to make ends meet; a man hawking his television set for far less than it’s fair value to raise money to return to his rural home. But none was as sad as seeing a father sawing up his lounge suite to light a fire to keep his family warm through the cold winter night. This act highlighted the hopelessness and desperation of those with nowhere to turn.
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The Zimbabwean

People's suffering is monstrous
MBARE - Her mother has bedded her down on the spot, still strewn with
rubble, where their house once stood. The sun is rising, it is getting
warmer, and the emaciated woman on the ground, a TB patient affected also by
Aids, welcomes the warming sun after a chilly night sleeping on the open
verandah of their landlord's house, the only building still standing on
these large premises near the Islamic Mosque in Mbare.
We have given up the idea of providing those sleeping in the open, still a
big number, with tents. The police will not allow it. They told women
camping in the open next to Stoddard Hall, "We do not want to see you here
by tomorrow".

Instead, we have black plastic sheeting, to give people at least a little
protection against the cold at night. I remember people sleeping under such
plastic sheets towards the end of the war, 1978-79. We seem to have come
full circle.

A father of three sent his family home; he wants to stay and keep his job.
He went away with plastic sheets and blankets.

Mai Modesta Banda has a baby at the breast and two toddlers whom she wants
to take to their unemployed father who divorced her, in Mutare - a desperate

I ask a woman who is assisting me for advice. She is against the idea. This
would amount to 'baby-dumping', she says. We 'park' the mother provisionally
in our garage. Being of Malawian origin, she has nowhere to go. But the
police put pressure on her to go away - to go where? To dissolve into thin

Those other three women - Zimbabwe-born of Malawian parents, with 14
children - found a lorry to take them to Mount Darwin. The driver promises
them places to stay. I hope it is true.

What is being done to these people is monstrous. The statements by church
leaders are welcome. But Bishops have to speak out not just once, but
continuously, pointing out daily the suffering of these people discarded as
tsvina (dirt).

They have ruined the 'illegal people' - informal traders and lodgers. Now
they seem bent on destroying the people with legal residence as well. They
all received bills demanding huge back payments (between 3 and 10 million
dollars) for water, sewerage and refuse collection (despite the latter
service being non-existent), as well as large penalties. For what?

Streams of people come to the parish waving those ominous letters, asking
for loans. But that is beyond our capacity.

What is the purpose of this? Do they want to force the owners, many elderly,
to sell their houses, and drive them out of Mbare where they have spent a
lifetime? Mbare Report No 7, In Touch Jesuit publications
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The Zimbabwean

Who will save us from our govt?
HARARE - When the government, rather unceremoniously, seized white farms a
few years ago, it did so in the name of the Zimbabwean masses. The
government, without consultation, promised the landless citizenry that land
taken away from those who had 'stolen it' from their forefathers/mothers was
going to be redirected to them (a belated function that should have been
performed in 1980, at independence).
At that time, though, the leaders and the black bourgeoisie saw nothing
wrong in taking over former colonial government offices and residences,
white exclusive suburbs, churches, schools and businesses. Clearly, the
masses were conspicuous by their absence when the the liberation spoils were

When the British and the Americans gave the government substantial sums of
money to negotiate land with the farmers on the principle of 'willing
buyer/willing seller', soon after independence, vast numbers of acres ended
in the hands of government high-ups and their relatives and friends.

They had to be reminded by the war veterans that citizens who had fought,
been maimed and lost their loved ones during the liberation war had not
received even a fraction of the prize. They had neither homes nor land. This
bitter reminder led to the disastrous land exercise that has plunged the
country into a bottomless economic chasm.

Time and time again, the leaders have stated that housing was being
developed to accommodate people savagely displaced by the infamous man-made
clean-up operation tsunami. To even begin to dig foundations for suitable
structures to rehabilitate these waives of dislocated families, the regime
must raise Z$1 trillion or US$100 million.

The actual situation is chaos. Officials are running around like chickens
without heads. For example, there was to be a ceremony where the Minister of
Finance was to share information about a fund set up to assist in this
effort. However, the event was aborted at the last minute due to the
revelation that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor could not
deliver the cash. The fund announcement, to begin with, was an empty
publicity stunt.

While this cataclysmic situation plays out, half a million souls are
suffering. Today, if you want to meet regular Zimbabweans, you will find
them in holding camps, on top of heaps of flattened buildings, hiding in
bushes and in prisons.

ZimOnline quotes Alice Masendeke, as she viewed the rubble from her
10-year-old house that lay in a pile: " Who will protect us from our

May it be known that the development of the urban matumba (shacks) has been
taking place for years under the nose of the Zanu (PF) administration. The
government deliberately wooed rural dwellers to migrate to the cities for
better economic opportunities. But the beckoning did not come with the
requisite accommodation.

The government did nothing to forestall or discourage the city-ward surge.
At the same time, the City of Harare spends hundreds of millions of dollars
every year constructing expensive private homes, movie theaters, roads, sky
scraper business offices, hotels, stadiums and mansions. It stands to reason
that, if the government will not use their taxes to build decent homes for
them, the people will construct structures that fit their budgets.

The other day I read that the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was going to
try to 'offer an olive branch to Mugabe.' Nice thought! However, it is a
cul-de-sac. If he counts the number of times he has done that before and the
results thereof, he will go back to the drawing board. The people of
Zimbabwe are hurting and they must address the source of pain.

Outsiders can offer suggestions and assistance but, in the final analysis,
Zimbabweans are in the ring. It is worth the money and time of the
opposition to consult with those who are experiencing first-hand the
demolition of their homes, looting of belongings, arresting of family
members, destruction of businesses, disorientation of family units and
feeding the fires of hunger and poverty.

Fellow Zimbabweans, the MaNdebele saying that, ' Akulahlwa mbeleko
ngokufelwa' (you do not throw away the cradle simply because you lost a
baby), holds true here. Even though the future is not promised to us, we
still have to plan for it for the sake of our children. Our fathers and
mothers did that for us. Yes, things are pretty grim right now but, "this
also shall pass".
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Evicted Urban Poor Held in Camps

With their homes and livelihoods destroyed, the future looks bleak for the
victims of the government's mass demolition project.

By Absolom Chidzitsi in New Caledonia (Africa Reports No 37, 30-Jun-05)

Twelve-year-old Russel Magodo waits in a queue for the single pit latrine
shared by 100,000 people at New Caledonia, a temporary camp about 30
kilometres from the Zimbabwean capital Harare.

The temperature is dipping towards zero in southern Africa's short but sharp
winter, and it is drizzling with rain. Russel has ended up in this camp
because like everyone else here, the Magodo family have seen their home
demolished on the orders of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe turned on the poorest of the poor in late May, bulldozing,
sledgehammering and burning their homes on the margins of Zimbabwe's cities
and towns before forcibly removing them to so-called "transit camps" in the
countryside. These sites dot the entire country and, in another time and
place, might have been described as concentration camps.

A Zimbabwean reporter for IWPR evaded armed police guards to enter New
Caledonia, established on a confiscated and now unproductive commercial
farm, and spoke first to Russel Magodo as he stood patiently in the 40-metre
toilet queue.

Increasingly, the refugees do not bother to wait, relieving themselves in
the surrounding bush and adding to the already imminent health hazards.
There is no clean water at New Caledonia. For washing and drinking, the new
residents have to make do with a small stream that runs past the camp.

Russel Magodo and his three sisters are among 300,000 children who
humanitarian organisations estimate have been forced out of school as a
result of Mugabe's blitzkrieg on their homes in Operation Murambatsvina -
"Drive Out the Rubbish" in the Shona language.

The Magodos and hundreds of others watched government bulldozers wreck their
homes and trading stalls in Harare's working class suburb of Hatcliff,
before they were herded on to government trucks and taken to New Caledonia,
where they live under 24-hour police surveillance.

Russel's father, 39-year-old Tonderai Magodo, is in tears as he describes
how police and officials ordered the destruction of his house. He had used
the proceeds of a retrenchment package from a once-permanent job to build
the home.

The houses destroyed by Mugabe's soldiers and police are described as
shacks. But "shack" is sometimes too grand a term to describe the corrugated
iron, plastic, asbestos and cardboard shelters that house the majority of
Africans south of the equator, covering entire landscapes.

Enter a shack and it is like walking through the looking glass. Interiors
are immaculate, the dirt floors covered with lino, kitchens lined with units
and gas-fired stoves, beds in the back rooms, the walls papered and lined
with posters of footballs stars and religious icons. All of it - everything
the owners possess from a lifetime of struggle - kept spotlessly clean by
"mamas" who often spend their days working as domestic staff for better-off
black and white people.

"It was a nightmare," said Tonderai, putting the final touches to a
primitive wood and plastic shelter for his young family at New Caledonia.
"They demolished the house and they loaded us on to the trucks and took us
here. There is no water, no school."

The future looks bleak for Tonderai. The small food stall he ran was
demolished at the same time as his house, which had brick and concrete
foundations and five rooms. Police stole his entire stock, including
precious cooking oil and sugar supplies.

"We are not allowed to do any business here and soon we will run out of
food," he said. "The nearest school is six miles away and there is no clinic
or medical service."

All the time, fresh arrivals are being dumped at New Caledonia and other
camps after their homes have been wrecked. Women are giving birth on sheets
of cardboard without medical attention.

Another New Caledonia arrival, 67-year-old Never Panganga, is diabetic but
can no longer attend hospital for regular check-ups, and his medicine will
soon run out. "I can't walk seven miles [to the nearest hospital], I'm too
old," he said. "Besides I have been too busy building the shack and trying
to get food."

Pangana survives on a pension which, because of Zimbabwe's rampant
inflation, allows him to buy only one loaf of bread, a small sack of ground
maize and a bottle of cooking oil each month.

He compares his present situation with the days when the white government of
Rhodesia established camps called "keeps" to stop people from supporting
liberation fighters. "I lived in the keeps during [Prime Minister Ian] Smith's
time. To me, it is the same life that we are living here, if not worse," he

Like other people evicted from their homes, Pangana cannot understand the
logic behind Operation Drive Out the Rubbish, nor does he know how or when
it will end.

Most analysts believe Mugabe is punishing urban dwellers for having
supported the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, in the
parliamentary election in March. By driving them into rural areas he can
both punish and control them.

There is no living for them in the countryside. Following Mugabe's
destruction of Zimbabwe's mainly white-run commercial farming system, rural
people are jobless and entirely dependent on food handouts, controlled
through a system of chiefs and village headmen in government pay.

The situation of the people of New Caledonia is hopeless. The MDC for which
they voted is nowhere to be seen, and Mugabe has banned humanitarian
organisations from distributing food, clothing and medicines in the camps.

A group of Zimbabwean Catholic, Anglican and Evangelical church leaders has
condemned the clearances as "dehumanising" for the whole nation. In a joint
statement, the churchmen said, "A manmade humanitarian crisis has been
created. People urgently need shelter, food, clothing, medicines and
transport. Physically, these people suffer greatly. Deep within, a
psychological scar has been created. Their essential nature as spiritual
beings has been grossly denied and their humanity reduced to the rubble that
surrounds them."

An aid worker based in Harare, whose organisation has been denied access to
New Caledonia, said, "I have been on many missions before, but this is the
first time I have seen a government doing this to its own people. Our major
worry is the small children and the sick. It's horrifying."

Absolom Chidzitsi is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Opposition Under Attack

Paranoia reigns in Harare where the government is jumping at shadows.

By Josphat Gidi in Harare (Africa Reports No 37, 30-Jun-05)

A nervous Zimbabwean government has put its opponents under siege in what
analysts believe will be a futile effort to thwart swelling public fury over
Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out the Rubbish) and the current economic

Armed police forcibly broke up a public meeting in central Harare organised
by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, on June 16.

Police insisted the meeting, being held to commemorate the Day of the
African Child, posed a threat to public order. Several MDC activists
including some of the party's parliamentarians, as well as journalists
covering the meeting, were beaten during the raid.

Analysts say further proof of the government's mounting sense of insecurity
was the reaction when University of Zimbabwe students in Harare decided to
celebrate Liverpool Football Club's victory in the European Cup. Armed riot
police, assuming the students were protesting against the government,
descended on the campus.

Similarly, police also broke up a meeting of university students who had
gathered to elect a new leadership. Then, a few days later, they dispersed a
crowd watching a local soccer match in Harare's Mabvuku township, suspecting
that the event was an MDC meeting to mobilise for mass action.

"Every little thing is a cause for strong reaction from the authorities. It
just shows how insecure the government feels," said Professor Brian
Raftopoulos, director of the Institute of Development Studies at the
University of Zimbabwe.

The MDC has threatened mass protests to force President Robert Mugabe to
halt the demolition of millions of shack homes around the country.

In a show of force unprecedented since Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party
wrested power from Ian Smith's white government 25 years ago, armed police
have in the past few weeks swooped on opposition strongholds, destroying
homes and arresting more than 30,000 people, mainly opposition supporters.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure said by
publicly wielding the iron fist, Mugabe is sending a clear message to
ordinary Zimbabweans about the price they will pay if they join any protest
against his government.

As he scatters some two million people to the rural areas, the president is
intent on banishing the biggest threat to his 25 years of autocratic rule as
poverty, unemployment and mass hunger reach record levels.

"The strategy is to thoroughly terrorise the population into submission as a
way of neutralising any impending mass action," Masunungure told IWPR.

Raftopoulos believes the government's high-handed approach is also an
admission it does not have any solution to the deepening political, economic
and food crisis. "They see suppression of all voices of dissent as a way of
consolidating their hold on power. What we are seeing are the typical signs
of dictatorship."

Nearly half of Zimbabwe's remaining 11.5 million people (an estimated 3.5
million have fled into exile) face starvation, partly because of poor rains
last season but mainly because ZANU PF supporters destroyed agricultural
production when they seized land from large-scale white commercial farmers.

International isolation of Zimbabwe's government, which intensified
following ZANU PF's controversial parliamentary election victory in March,
has accelerated the meltdown of an already rapidly declining economy sapped
by lack of foreign aid, international investment and hard cash, runaway
inflation, 80 per cent unemployment and mass poverty.

Masunungure insisted that strong-arm tactics amid worsening social and
economic conditions would not be enough to silence opposition. "It can only
achieve the opposite," he said. "We have seen this in other countries where
governments have attempted to quell discontent by using force against the

"In the long run, these governments have failed and there is no valid reason
to believe the government of Zimbabwe will succeed where others have

Josphat Gidi is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe
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People's Daily

      UN envoy endorses cleanup operation in Zimbabwe

      United Nations special envoy to Zimbabwe, UN-Habitat Executive
Director Anna Kagumulo Tibaijuka, said on Thursday the Zimbabwean
government's vision for the cleanup exercise is in line with her
organization's objective.

      She said this after separate meetings with civic groups and a
government task force.

      During the meeting with the government task force which is largely
made up of government ministers, Tibaijuka said that UN- Habitat's core
obligation was to create clean cities and towns.

      "Habitat's agenda is creating cities without slums and the vision for
Operation Murambatsvina is clear," she said.

      "Obviously you are fighting poverty and not the poor and you are also
fighting slums and not the slum dweller and we look forward to working with
you," said Tibaijuka, whose organization has a presence in 25 other

      The cleanup exercise started in Harare on May 18 and rolled out to all
urban centers across the country.

      Tibaijuka, who is in the country at the behest of UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan, however wanted to know how the government planned the operation
and how the implementation procedures were undertaken to enable her to
critically assess the situation.

      She will prepare a detailed report of her findings for the UN chief.

      She also requested to be furnished with figures of how many people had
been rendered homeless and where they had been relocated.

      She began her fact-finding mission on Wednesday when she met President
Robert Mugabe after holding internals meetings with UN country staff on
Monday and Tuesday.

      Tibaijuka, who arrived in the country on Sunday, is expected to visit
the eastern border town of Mutare, her first tour outside Harare, on Friday.

      The cleanup exercise, which has seen the demolition of hundreds of
illegal accommodation and commercial structures across the country, has
attracted international attention.

      Source: Xinhua

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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Mass Clearances Hit Smallest Towns

While the spotlight has been on the destruction of homes in the cities,
people are being displaced all across the country.

By IWPR staff in southern Africa (Africa Reports No 37, 30-Jun-05)

Most stories about Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's campaign to clear
and destroy whole swathes of "illegal" housing have come out of the capital
Harare and the other major city, Bulawayo.

But Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out the Rubbish) has been countrywide,
affecting small towns as well as cities.

An IWPR contributor who visited Victoria Falls in the northwest of the
country heard the same kind of stories from dispossessed people now
struggling to survive.

In Victoria Falls, once a major attraction for foreigners, the owner of a
tourist craft village who wante only to be known as "F" told IWPR of troops
in armoured vehicles destroying homes and small businesses.

"Some of you have heard about [Operation Murambatsvina] on the news, but
others didn't realise it hit our little town too," said F.

"On a Friday, our African townships were invaded by armoured vehicles and
dozens of troops with metal helmets and batons, and they burnt every single
house that was not concrete - wooden houses, lean-tos, shacks - smashing
windows as they went," he said.

In particular, F told how the authorities destroyed homes built for the
traditional dancers who entertained tourists who once flocked to the region.
He said that five years ago, the village had paid the local council to
connect it to the water and sewerage networks and build wooden houses for
the dancers, who had no homes of their own.

Though they were able to halt the demolition after appealing to the council,
and began repairing some of the damage, several days later the police came

"One of the dancers rushed to the shop to say two armoured cars and 20
police were smashing. and burning everything," said F.

"Naturally we couldn't get hold of the police chief or anybody in council,
so we just took our truck and tried to salvage as much as we could. Now we
sit with 80 or so people with no roof over their heads and nowhere to go."

Commenting on the wider campaign of demolition he saw in the Victoria Falls
area, F said, "I wept to see such utter destruction. To see thousands of
homeless in this cold winter of ours, with their belongings piled up
alongside somebody's home, mattresses, blankets, furniture, stoves, fridges,
wardrobes and hundreds of small children all staring wide-eyed at what was
happening - it was all too sad even to describe.

"What is so sad is to buy a wooden home costs millions [of Zimbabwean
dollars]. To replace the glass in windows smashed and the roofing asbestos
sheets smashed - we are looking at about 80 million per home, which we don't

"Why they had to smash and burn everything, nobody knows."

F once again set about making repairs to his village, and soon everyone at
least had a roof over their heads, though with some sharing. Some staff,
however, had to be sent back to their rural homes, F said, and one older
woman was put into a home for the elderly.

If Operation Murambatsvina continues, F fears that everyone will eventually
have to return to their native villages.

"We will have no traditional village and no traditional dancing for the
tourists, who we hope will return soon. Now we hear the police are chasing
people away who are sharing accommodation, and even if you are staying in
somebody's kitchen you have to go."

Eight hundred kilometres away, high in the eastern highlands on the
Mozambique border, Mutare provides another case-study of the many small
towns where homes have been torn down and livelihoods destroyed.

Mutare is one of the coldest areas in Zimbabwe and the Red Cross of Zimbabwe
is setting up tents for the estimated 120,000 people who have been displaced

The Standard, an independent weekly, described how ten-year-old Takudzwa
Taroyiwa died of pneumonia after spending nights in the open following the
destruction of his family home by police in Mutare.

Enock Nhongo told the paper how his wife Chido also died of pneumonia,
leaving behind a five-month-old baby, after her home was flattened. Nhongo
said although his wife had not been feeling well, her illness worsened after
she was exposed to the winter temperatures.

"My baby son is now surviving on bottled milk and sleeping in the open like
us grown-ups," he said.
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The Guardian

Three Reported Killed in Zimbabwe Campaign

Friday July 1, 2005 4:46 AM

AP Photo HRE101

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - Police targeted an illegal settlement west
of Zimbabwe's capital Thursday in the government's six-week demolition and
resettlement campaign, and as many as three people were reported dead.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said two women, one of them pregnant, died
Thursday when they fell off the back of trucks ferrying them to a ``transit
camp'' where thousands of displaced people are living in tents.

A 4-year-old boy was run over by a truck Thursday at the settlement, the
group said.

Police were not immediately available to confirm the reports.

At least six others are reported to have died since the start of the
campaign six weeks ago.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says Operation Murambatsvina -
Drive Out Trash - is meant to drive its supporters among the urban poor into
rural areas where the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
is dominant.

President Robert Mugabe's government maintains the blitz is not political
and already has reduced crime rates and restored order to overcrowded and
chaotic city centers.

The three reported dead Thursday were from Porta Farm, an illegal settlement
west of Harare that is the latest area to be targeted by police.

Anna Tibaijuka, a U.N. special envoy sent to investigate the humanitarian
impact of the campaign, visited the site, but U.N. spokesman Sharad
Shankardass declined to comment on what she had observed.

Tibaijuka, the Tanzanian head of U.N. Habitat, is on the fifth day of her
visit to Zimbabwe.

The operation - which comes at the height of the southern African winter and
during a widespread food shortage - has seen tens of thousands of illegal
shanties, backyard cottages and houses destroyed, and between 300,000 and
1.5 million people left homeless.

The exercise has been condemned by many Western countries, including former
colonial power Britain. Zimbabwean human rights groups, clerics, doctors and
lawyers also have condemned the campaign.

On Wednesday, Tibaijuka met with Mugabe. The 81-year old head of state said
after the meeting the police demolitions were a ``temporary discomfort.''

``Obviously there is some degree of suffering when you break down a slum.
Yes, there is discomfort now, but discomfort in order to get comfort
later,'' he said.

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30th June 2005


Zimbabweans call for Boycott of South Africa


Zimbabwean exiles and human rights campaigners in the UK are to launch a campaign on Monday, 4th July, to boycott South African products because of President Mbeki’s support of the Mugabe regime. 


South African fruit is to be trampled into the pavement and South African wine poured down the gutter at a demonstration outside the Guildhall in the City of London. 


The occasion is a one-day meeting at the Guildhall (map attached) organised by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.  NEPAD, as it is known, is largely a Mbeki idea and is aimed at boosting investment and aid in Africa.  In return it promises good governance. 


There are reports that President Mbeki himself will attend the meeting, which is to report to the G8 Summit being held later in the week in Scotland. 


Zimbabweans are angry that South Africa has again accepted rigged elections in Zimbabwe and are appalled at the treatment of Zimbabwean exiles fleeing to South Africa.  The recent sale of South African military equipment to Zimbabwe used in the recent devastation of the homes and businesses of the poor was the last straw.


The campaign is organised by the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for nearly three years in support of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. 



Venue:                Outside St Lawrence Jewry Church on the piazza opposite the Guildhall

Time:                  11 am – 2 pm

Media call:          12.30 when South African fruit and wine will be trashed in a symbolic start to the boycott


Facilitator:           Rose Benton, Vigil Co-ordinator          07970 996 003


Spokespeople on the day

Patson Muzuwa                         07908 066 392

Dumi Tutani                               07960 039 775

Addley Nyamutaka                    07939 292 231

Vigil Co-ordinators
The vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturdays from 14.00 - 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe.  The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
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The Telegraph

By W. F. Deedes
(Filed: 01/07/2005)

Mugabe, though despicable, has the ear of Africa

Many are puzzled and angry by our Government's failure to respond to the
acts of human atrocity committed by Mugabe against Zimbabweans. As the
Foreign Office could explain to them, Mugabe enjoys the private support of
many African leaders, including Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

When Mugabe speaks down there he receives a standing ovation. He is seen by
much of Africa not as a scourge of his own people but as an

While South Africa was fighting apartheid more than 20 years ago, Mugabe was
fighting Ian Smith in Rhodesia and forced Margaret Thatcher, of all people,
into a settlement. That is why his name rings through Africa. He is to
Africa what men like Wellington and Montgomery have been to us. I refer to
some of its leading regimes, not to its forgiving citizens.

Our calculation here is that fresh action against Mugabe would do us more
harm than good in Africa where we still have considerable interests. Mugabe
knows this perfectly well. With Africa's tacit support he has nothing to
fear. To lament that we struck against Saddam's Iraq but are ignoring
injustice on the same scale in Zimbabwe is valid but in vain. Iraq had few
friends. Zimbabwe has the sympathy of many African leaders.

I do wish that those who are marching on G8's gathering at Edinburgh
understood as much. I yield to none in my desire to see African people
relieved of their abject poverty, but I want to see it done in a way that
does not simply further line the pockets of unscrupulous African leaders who
have contributed to their impoverishment.
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The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe

Monday June 20th – Sunday June 26th 2005

Weekly Media Update 2005-23








1. General comment


THE media’s disturbing dereliction of duty has made itself evident again after their failure to inform the public of the enactment of yet another repressive law, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The law was gazetted on June 3rd, but surprisingly none of the media has reported on this piece of legislation, which tightens the gag on the public’s voice, among other provisions that further erode the country’s democratic space.


For instance, Clause 31 of the Act imposes a fine of $5 million or a jail sentence of up to 20 years or both for anyone who “ who publishes or communicates false statements” that are perceived to be “prejudicial to the State”.

Clause 33 of the Act also imposes stiffer penalties for anyone convicted of “publicly” making or publishing a statement (including any act or gesture) that is deemed as “undermining the authority of or insulting” the presidency.

These two alarmingly vague and sweeping clauses introduce truly draconian penalties for similar offences already contained in the repressive Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Privacy Act (AIPPA).


For instance, under POSA communicating a false statement perceived to be a threat to the State’s interests attracts a fine of $100 000 or a five-year jail term or both, while AIPPA’s penalty for “publishing or communicating falsehoods”, which is also punishable under Section 31 (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, is a fine of $400 000 or a maximum of two years in jail.

Notably, none of the media informed the public of this latest assault by the authorities on the citizenry’s right to freedom of expression.


However, The Daily Mirror (23/6) did expose how such repressive laws have been used to deny citizens their right to access media of their choice when it reported that the government-appointed Media and Information Commission (MIC) had “reserved judgment” on the application by the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe - publishers of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday – for an operating licence and the re-licensing of The Tribune.

The papers were closed for violating sections of AIPPA.


While the MIC continues to delay making a determination on these important public issues, Zimbabweans who have been subjected to incessant propaganda from the government controlled media, remain starved of diverse alternative sources of information.


2. Urban purge continues


AS the debate on government’s Operation Murambatsvina continued, the official media stepped up its propaganda portraying the authorities as humane and sensitive to the needs of the operation’s victims.

For example, almost all 129 reports that ZBH (Power FM [41], Radio Zimbabwe [34] and ZTV [54]) carried portrayed government as addressing homelessness caused by the exercise by providing alternative shelter for the victims. As a result, the scale of the humanitarian crisis triggered by Murambatsvina was suffocated.

Neither did the broadcaster expose the confusion surrounding the objective of the exercise following the announcement that the operation would be expanded to include banning offices in residential areas and peri-urban farming. Instead, the government broadcaster continued to seek comments from pro-government sources to endorse the exercise.


The government Press adopted a similar stance in its 46 stories on the topic.

These papers passively premised their reports on the authorities’ justification of the operation presenting Murambatsvina as a “noble” exercise according to Deputy Minister of Information, Bright Matonga (The Herald 24/6) that would provide better homes for the poor and rid the country of illegal activities.

These papers also stifled the human misery the operation has caused.

In fact, in an effort to sanitize the humanitarian crisis, ZTV (20/6, 8pm), Power FM and Radio Zimbabwe (21/6, 8pm) claimed that living conditions for “2,000 families” resettled at Caledonia Farm “continue to improve as NGOs have joined government in providing basic needs…”


There was no discussion on what percentage of Murambatsvina’s victims the resettled families represented. Neither did ZBH provide information about the living conditions of other victims of Murambatsvina and where they were settled. Instead, the following day, ZTV (21/6, 8pm) quoted police Inspector Eunice Marange downplaying the rights violations arising from the mass forced evictions. She claimed that the treatment of the victims was in accordance with international law as Caledonia Farm settlers enjoyed “every human right” under the UN Charter and lived “just like any person with a home”.



To further mitigate the cruelty of the purge, ZBH (23/6, 8pm) reported vaguely that “sociologists” had said, “the conduct of police and local authorities are within the law and international standards of fighting crime.” But it only quoted one sociologist; Claude Mararike, an advocate of government policies.


While ZTV repeatedly ran footage of houses allegedly being built for Murambatsvina’s victims at Whitecliffe Farm to show government’s compassion for those affected, it failed to investigate why the authorities had flattened homes built on the stands that the government itself had parceled out just before the presidential elections in 2002.

The official Press was equally silent on this issue. For example, The Sunday Mail and The Sunday News (26/6) carried five passive reports on government’s newly launched $3 trillion reconstruction programme dubbed ‘Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle’, which is meant to “provide residential and business accommodation to deserving people” by the end of August this year.


The two papers failed to question where government would get the funds for the programme or the feasibility of the timeframe within which reconstruction was to be completed, far less explain the criteria that would be used to select “deserving people”.

In fact, the government media’s total failure to question the authorities’ policies resulted in The Herald (24/6) failing to find out why some” organisations were allowed to continue to operate in CBD offices that Harare City Council had closed for “breach of licensing regulations, overcrowding and health risks”.


Such passive endorsement of Murambatsvina on the basis that it was flushing out “illegality” in urban centres was apparent in most stories featured by the government Press.

For example, in a The Sunday Mail, opinion piece, Dr Obediah Mazombwe accused the Western media of presenting “a mangled, self-serving description of the clean-up”. While he, for example, accused these media of carrying “outright non-truths…suggesting that a significant number of legal, registered, tax-paying companies did business at Bart House”, Mazombwe made no effort to substantiate his claims that the building “housed mostly crooks, conmen and outright criminals”.


Similarly, the vague and generic branding of shack dwellers and informal traders as criminals was earlier reflected in The Herald (22/6), which reported the police as checking criminal records of prospective vendors before they were allocated market stalls by the council. The paper did not clarify what would happen to ex-convicts and whether there were any laws preventing them from attempting to earn an honest living. Neither did the paper explain what the council meant by ominously demanding vendors provide proof of “legal” residence before being licensed.


The totally compromised nature of The Herald’s coverage of Murambatsvina was also reflected by the paper’s failure (24 & 26/6) to give balanced coverage of the parliamentary debate on the operation. Its reports subordinated the MDC’s concerns about the evident suffering caused by Murambatsvina to ruling party MPs’ support for the exercise. ZTV (23/6, 8pm) also failed to package the debate in a professional manner as it only showed footage of MPs debating in Parliament without identifying them or giving any narrative of the issues raised by the legislators. 


In fact, the official media’s partisan coverage of Murambatsvina was reflected by their failure to balance the official comment with independent viewpoints as shown in Fig 1 and 2.


Fig 1 Voice distribution on ZBH










Ordinary people

Radio Zimbabwe









Power FM




























Fig 2 Voice distribution in the government Press




Local Government

Ordinary people

Foreign Diplomats











Notably, except for the MDC voices, which were only cited in the context of the questions they raised in Parliament, most of the commentators used by the government media endorsed the operation.

In contrast, apart from three reports carried in the Mirror stable that were sceptical of the West, especially Britain’s concerns on Murambatsvina, most of the 74 stories (Studio 7 [30] and private Press [44]) featured by the private media exposed the cruelty and arbitrary nature of the operation.


The stories condemned the haphazard and callous manner in which the exercise was being implemented and highlighted local and international criticism. For example, contrary to ZBH’s sanitised picture of the humanitarian crisis, Studio 7 (21/6) reported that  “the plight of displaced people in Harare and other areas continued to deteriorate as authorities fail to come up with means to accommodate them”. While ZBH glossed over the poor conditions at Caledonia Farm, the private station revealed that there were “no (proper) sanitation facilities and there are frequent water shut offs, and most people are sleeping in the open”. The station (23/6) revealed that similar circumstances prevailed at a holding camp in Bubi-Umguza, which is used to “hold” victims of the operation in Bulawayo.


It also reported that “thousands of people” had been left homeless and were sleeping in the open in Mutare and Chitungwiza amid fears of an outbreak of disease.

The Standard (26/6) reported the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe estimating that as many as 300 000 children had dropped out of school after their homes had been destroyed. The paper also revealed that the operation had claimed six lives so far, among them four children.


The government Press’ only report on a Murambatsvina-related death was carried by The Herald (23/6), which passively allowed the police to distance themselves from the fatality while apparrently blaming it on the reckless way people were “demolishing illegal structures at their properties”. Notably, the police comments and the paper’s report followed the fatal crushing by rubble of 18-month-old Terence Munyaka, the son of a police officer.


Besides attempting to accurately convey the scale of the humanitarian crisis, the private media continued to give space to growing international criticism of the exercise.

For example, Studio 7 (20/6) reported calls by South Africa’s opposition on President Thabo Mbeki to “speak out and condemn” the operation, and quoted World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz describing Murambatsvina as “inhuman and tragic”.

The government media ignored these reports and only made reference to them in the context of government’s vicious response to the international community’s concerns. They also used South Africa and the African Union’s supportive statements to present criticism as driven by the West’s hatred of Zimbabwe.


For instance, ZBH (24/6, 8pm) reported President Mugabe dismissing Wolfowitz’s statements as “ridiculous” because many “people have been supportive of the programme”, adding that criticism only came from “the West.”

The government Press carried five stories projecting such views.

As a result, the official papers avoided interpreting the visit by the UN special envoy, Anna Kagumulo Tibaijuka, to assess the damage caused by Murambatsvina as a vindication of the international community’s concerns over the exercise. Instead, The Herald (21/6) simply quoted Secretary for Information George Charamba attributing it to the “misplaced hue and cry” over the exercise “and an apparent reluctance by the Western media” to acknowledge that “government has put in place measures to rehabilitate and accommodate” the victims.    

While the government media relied on pro-government voices in a bid to endorse Murambatsvina, the sourcing pattern in the private media was more diverse. All official voices quoted in the private Press supported Murambatsvina while most the other voices were critical. Notably, only diplomats from South Africa and the AU did not query government’s actions. See Fig 3.


Fig 3 Voice distribution in the private Press




Local Government

Ordinary People


Foreign Diplomats












3. Fuel shortages and economic issues


THE government media also failed to properly report the intensifying economic crisis, characterised by acute fuel shortages and an increasingly inflationary environment.

For instance, the government Press carried 11 stories on the subject as compared to 30 featured by the private papers.


Notably, most of the stories carried in the government papers were a passive echo of the authorities’ reasons for the country’s economic decline. For example, of the four reports these papers published on fuel shortages, half of them stemmed from government responses to MDC legislators’ questions on the fuel crisis while the remainder were mere events describing how commuters were having difficulties in finding transport.

Likewise, more than half of the 23 stories ZBH (ZTV [8], Radio Zimbabwe [8] and Power FM [7]) rehashed the government’s explanation for the self-evident fuel crisis. The rest were uncritical reports on the impact of foreign currency shortages on government’s projects.

None of the official media’s reports took the authorities to task over how they were going to address the fuel crisis.


Studio 7’s two reports also failed to challenge the authorities on the issue.

It was only the private Press that demanded answers in most of its eight stories on the crisis. Such was the papers’ tenacity that The Daily Mirror (20, 21 and 25/6) carried editorials all criticising government’s silence on the crisis. 


In fact, the Zimbabwe Independent (24/6) revealed that the IMF team currently in the country had learnt that, “Zimbabwe has no plan in place to save the country from the crippling fuel shortage,” and that, “Zimbabwe does not currently have any fuel in reserve as the shortages have continued to bite”.  However, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono told the paper that, a solution to the fuel problem was in sight”. He did not elaborate.


Although the private papers’ coverage on the galloping cost of living was almost as thin as that of the government Press, they tried to explain the causes of the economic ills afflicting Zimbabwe. They cited foreign currency shortages, the high inflation and government overspending, which has resulted in it accumulating a ballooning domestic debt of $10 trillion to finance its budget deficit, as some of the main culprits.   

The government Press evaded these matters.

Instead, The Herald (23/6) merely cited Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa telling Parliament that Zimbabwe’s economic crisis stemmed from the sanctions imposed on the country by the international community.


The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:


Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look at each message.  For previous MMPZ reports, and more information about the Project, please visit our website at


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