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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

What lies behind the Zimbabwe demolitions?
By Joseph Winter
BBC News website

The homes of some 200,000 Zimbabwean city dwellers have been demolished in the past three weeks, according to the United Nations.

See before and after images of township clearance in Harare.

Police have been moving from area to area, in some cases forcing people to knock down their own homes. In others, they have turned up with bulldozers to demolish structures which they say have been built illegally.

"We were busking, enjoying the winter sun when we heard trucks and bulldozers roll in. There was pandemonium as we rushed to salvage the little we could," one resident of the capital, Harare told the BBC News website.

"In no time the cottage I had called home for three years was gone. Then it dawned on me that I was now homeless, you try and pinch yourself and wake up but this was no dream. My life had been shattered before my very own eyes."

Worshippers at a Harare mosque have even been made to destroy it, says opposition MP Trudy Stevenson.

Thousands of desperate Zimbabweans are living on the streets, others have gone back to their rural homes, while some have managed to squeeze into parts of the cities not yet touched by what some are calling the "tsunami".

No-one was spared, not even 80-year-old grannies
Tinashe, Harare

President Robert Mugabe said "Operation Murambatsvina [Drive out rubbish]" was needed to "restore sanity" to Zimbabwe's cities, which he said had become overrun with criminals.

His critics say it is no coincidence that opposition to his rule is strongest in urban areas - and that in March the opposition Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) won almost all urban seats for a second election in a row.

'Pre-emptive strike'

"This is harassment of urban voters," MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube told the BBC.

He says the government wants people to go to rural areas, where they can be controlled more easily.

Children sitting in front of demolished shack near Harare
Some children left school after their homes were demolished
"It could also be a pre-emptive strike against poor urban people who will be worst affected by the inevitable hunger which is going to stalk the population in the next few months."

The UN World Food Programme estimates that more than three million people will need food aid in the coming year.

Some of the areas where whole rows of houses have been destroyed, such as Mabvuku and Tafara, have seen anti-government riots in the past few years.

So far, the security forces have managed to put a lid on such protests and prevent them spiralling into mass demonstrations capable of toppling the government.

But maybe Mr Mugabe does not want to take any chances.

Zimbabwean politics is, however, rarely that simple.

'Necessary evil'

Many of the illegal structures which have been demolished were built on farms seized from their white owners in the past five years of a controversial land reform programme.

This government has been shooting itself in the foot for a long time - The question is whether the people are willing to take political action
Welshman Ncube, MDC
This is Mr Mugabe's core policy and most of those who have moved onto the farms are supporters of his Zanu-PF party.

Zanu-PF chief whip Jerome Macdonald Gumbo points to this as proof that the operation is not political.

"Harare used to be a very smart town. Now it has become dirty and dangerous," he said.

"The exercise is painful but it has to be done. It is a necessary evil."

Mr Ncube says that the government is actually quite glad to be moving against the war veterans, who spearheaded the invasion of white-owned farms in 2000, attacking opposition supporters as they went and paving the way for Zanu-PF's victory in the 2000 parliamentary elections.

"If they could destroy the war veterans, who have been holding this government to ransom, that would be an added bonus," he says.

Economic control

Last year, Jabulani Sibanda, the leader of the veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence, was disciplined by Mr Mugabe, after being identified with a Zanu-PF faction which had fallen from the president's favour.

Remains of mosque in Harare
These are the remains of a mosque built in Harare's Hatcliffe township
Human rights lawyer Brian Kagoro agrees that the eviction of Zanu-PF supporters from the farms shows that Operation Murambatsvina cannot simply be described as punishment for pro-opposition urban voters.

But he says that whoever the victims are, their rights have been violated.

"They should have been given adequate notice. Children have been pulled out of school and people with Aids have had to stop their treatment."

Some have been living in their shacks for more than 10 years and been told to demolish it in a single day, he says.

He also says that the government is destroying informal "flea markets" in order to tighten its control of the economy.


Most of all, the government wants to bring all the foreign currency generated in Zimbabwe into formal structures and stamp out the black market.

Some traders have been found with huge caches of foreign currency.

People with salvaged photo of President Mugabe
Supporters of President Mugabe (in photo) have not been spared
Mr Gumbo denies that the action has been unfair.

"These people knew that the structures were illegal - we always told them not to build them. They did not think the government would take any action," he said.

He also accuses the opposition of hypocrisy, after previously criticising the government for tolerating a situation of lawlessness.

A coalition of opposition groups, including the MDC, last week organised a general strike to protest at the demolitions but it was a failure.

Mr Ncube says that Zimbabweans are angry but they are not prepared to stand up and take the risks needed to change the government.

"Every second person wants someone else to take action on their behalf."

So he is reluctant to predict that the demolitions will alienate a new section of Zimbabweans from Zanu-PF and drive them into the arms of his party.

"This government has been shooting itself in the foot for a long time, alienating more and more constituencies. The question is whether the people are willing to take political action," he says.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

"Operation Murambatsvina": An Overview and Summary
Sokwanele Special Report : 18 June 2005

Before and after pictures of two homes at Killarney, BulawayoOn 25 May, Africa Day, the Government of Zimbabwe began an operation labelled "Operation Murambatsvina". While Government has translated this to mean "Operation Clean-up", the more literal translation of "murambatsvina" is "getting rid of the filth". The operation has continued throughout the month of June, and has affected virtually every town and rural business centre in the country. From Mount Darwin in the north, to Beitbridge in the south, Mutare in the East and Bulawayo in the west, no part of the nation has been spared the impact of what could be termed a slow-moving earthquake; every day the nation awakes to find more buildings have fallen around them, more families have been displaced. Families are often having their homes and possessions ruthlessly burnt to the ground, or are given a few hours to remove what they can save before bulldozers come in to demolish entire structures.

Destruction of the informal sector

Zimbabwe is a nation in dramatic economic decline. It is estimated that no more than 20% of the adult population is currently employed in the formal sector. Approximately 80% of adults in Zimbabwe therefore eke out an existence in the informal sector, either through subsistence farming or through informal employment in towns. By this means, they pay their rent, buy food for their children and send them to school. As many as 3-4 million Zimbabweans survive by informal employment, and their income is supporting another 4 million Zimbabweans at least. It is the unofficial backbone of the economy, and in a nation with no free health, housing or education, to remove the informal sector is to reduce Zimbabwe's poorest to a state of abject poverty.

In three weeks since the beginning of this "clean up', estimates of the displaced vary from 300,000 to over a million, and hundreds of thousands more have lost their sources of income in the informal sector. The Government, under the auspices of the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development, began by arresting 20,000 vendors countrywide, destroying their vending sites, and confiscating their wares. Thousands more escaped arrest, but have lost their livelihoods. This process took one week in the first instance. Harare was among the worst affected cities: police action was brutal and unannounced. Sculpture parks along the main roads, which have been there for decades and feature as a tourist attraction in guide books, were smashed. Beautiful works of art on roadside display, created out of stone, wood and metal some standing up to two meters high, were smashed. Vendors, who have been operatin g in the same places without complaint or interference for their entire working lives, were confronted with riot squads without any warning, were rounded up, arrested, and watched helplessly while their source of livelihood was destroyed. Within days, bulldozers have moved in to take away remains of these works of art. Other wares were taken by the police, and are being sold off through "auctions" in which the police buy goods worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few dollars. These auctions are not open to the general public, and there is no process of highest bidder, but any minor offer is accepted. No records or receipts are being kept during this process. Police have also been reported selling goods stolen by them from vendors directly to the public.

In the City of Bulawayo, there is a well-established system of licensed vendors. There are over 3,000 licensed vendors, operating from vending bays demarcated and controlled by the City Council. The Council police oversee these bays to ensure no illegal practices are going on. These legal vendors pay rates on a monthly basis to City Council. However, in spite of requests from City Council to Government to appreciate that many vendors in Bulawayo are legal, police riot squads totally demolished all legal vending structures and arrested legal vendors. Licensed vendors are currently suing the State for loss of income and unjust treatment, but the High Court in Bulawayo has refused to treat the matter as urgent, and has taken a week to consider what should be done: in that week, goods taken illegally from vendors by the police are being auctioned off for next to nothing.

Vending sites closed down in Bulawayo include Unity Village in Main Street, which was a few years ago officially opened and proclaimed a successful small enterprise development by Minister John Nkomo. Fort Street Market, which was officially opened in a ceremony by Cain Mathema, now the appointed Governor of Bulawayo, was also forcibly closed and people vending there arrested and their goods, including imported electrical goods and clothing, were taken.

Apart from trying to outlaw all forms of vending, the Government has also pursued other small to medium enterprises. Blocks of apartments housing tailors, hairdressers, plumbers etc have been raided, tenants turfed out and their enterprises shut down as illegal.

The informal housing sector

However, it is the destruction of housing that has caused the most immediate and unrelenting hardship. Literally thousands of dwellings have been bulldozed during the last three weeks, displacing people on a massive scale. Not even in apartheid South Africa were close to half a million people ever forcibly relocated in the space of a few days. There is no precedent in southern African for such a movement of people in a nation supposedly not at war with itself.

As houses and dwellings continue to fall at this time, final numbers of people affected are growing daily. It is difficult to estimate how many houses have been knocked down, but in Harare, entire suburbs have disappeared, including Hatcliff Extension, Mbare, Joshua Nkomo, and White Cliff Farm. In addition, in every street of every suburb, cottages and structures in back yards have been taken down, leaving lodgers without accommodation.

In Victoria Falls, the Government press reports that 3,368 houses were knocked down, and photographs and interviews by independent observers show that in most cases these were not casual dwellings but proper houses built out of concrete blocks with corrugated iron roofs. Six km of vending stands that have been used to sell carvings to tourists for the last three decades, have also been torched to the ground. This is estimated to have displaced more than 20,000 people, in a tiny town with fewer than a 100,000 residents.

In Beitbridge, more than a 100 dwellings have been knocked down, again a substantial proportion of this small town, and again, vending stands have been destroyed.

Across the width and breadth of Zimbabwe, families are now to be seen sleeping under trees or on pavements, trying to protect small children, the elderly and the ill from winter weather and thieves, with no access to ablutions, and nowhere to cook or store food properly. Tiny babies, days old, and people on their deathbeds alike are sleeping at the mercy of the elements. Bus stations are filled to overflowing with families sitting hopelessly next to furniture and building materials salvaged from the onslaught, waiting in vain for buses prepared to carry the loads to rural areas. Those with trucks struggle to access scarce diesel, which now costs up to Z$50,000 per litre, when the official price is Z$4,000 per litre; those with fuel are charging extortionist rates to move desperate families short distances. It costs Z$200,000 to move a wardrobe by bus - desperate families without this money are selling their assets off at a tenth of the transport cost in order to raise fares for their wives and children to get home. They will arrive in some remote, starving rural area without a job, without food, without furniture, without a house - and be at the mercy of a ZANU PF dominant rural leadership to whom they will have to appeal for a space to live.

The Government has made no contingency plans whatsoever to move people, or to create new housing for them. The deliberate destruction of homes in a nation that already faces a most terrible winter of unemployment, hunger and collapsing resources, is nothing short of wicked. Zimbabwe has become a nation of internally displaced people, where its own citizens are refugees within the borders of what should be their home.

Retribution and control

Observers have speculated that this latest policy is retributive: most of MDC's 41 parliamentary seats are in urban constituencies, and one aim may be to displace MDC supporters from urban centres into rural areas where they will be forced to tow the line by powerful, ZANU PF supporting traditional leadership, who control access to communal resources. Parallels have been drawn between what is happening in Zimbabwe and the policy of peasantisation under Pol Pot or Ceausescu. The prospect for democracy is increasingly grim.

One theory is that the current operation is part of a strategy to reallocate what is left of Zimbabwe's dwindling resources to those that the ruling party has to rely on to retain control. Already, vendors' licences are being reissued in Harare - but only to those who have a valid ZANU PF card. Similarly, in those areas that have been razed to the ground, such as White Cliff Farm, land is already being re-pegged, and the sites are being allocated to members of the army and police. Furthermore, people from MDC supporting cities are being displaced into ZANU PF strongholds in rural areas, where it is quite simple - those who do not support ZANU PF will not be allowed access to food this winter.

In summary, in the wake of the 2005 election, with ZANU PF enraged by the cities' failure to vote for them, those of unclear or opposition political affiliation are being removed from the informal housing and employment sectors, displaced into impoverished rural areas, and the entire informal urban sector is being reallocated to ZANU PF supporters.

The Government is in violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which it is signatory. In terms of this covenant, no government can evict people without having made an alternative plan to house them. The international community should be holding ZANU PF accountable for these terrible actions. The people of Zimbabwe have been abandoned and persecuted by the Government that should be protecting them. Who will stand by them? Where is the word of condemnation from the Secretary General of the United Nations, from the Head of the African Union - and from President Thabo Mbeki, whose government has through the last five years, systematically supported the corrupt Mugabe regime?

Visit our website at
Visit our blog: This is Zimbabwe (Sokwanele blog)

We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!

Sokwanele does not endorse the editorial policy of any source or website except its own. It retains full copyright on its own articles, which may be reproduced or distributed but may not be materially altered in any way. Reproduced articles must clearly show the source and owner of copyright, together with any other notices originally contained therein, as well as the original date of publication. Sokwanele does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising in any way from receipt of this email or use thereof. This document, or any part thereof, may not be distributed for profit.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Women Arrested in Bulawayo Protest of Home Demolitions By Babongile Dlamini
      Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
      18 June 2005

About 30 members of the Bulawayo-based activist group Women of Zimbabwe
Arise were arrested today as they protested the state's ongoing campaign of
urban demolition known as Operation Murambatsvina, or "Drive Out Rubbish."

Members of the organization marched in central Bulawayo on Saturday
demanding a halt to the destruction of homes deemed illegal by authorities
and marking World Refugee Day. The WOZA activists were expected to be held
through the weekend, though their lawyer was seeking their release.

Reporter Babongile Dlamini in Bulawayo spoke about the arrests with Studio 7
reporter Praxedes Jeremiah.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zim extends 'clean-up' campaign
18/06/2005 17:31  - (SA)

Harare - The Zimbabwean government has started targeting rural areas in a
sweeping blitz on crime and shanties that has already left tens of thousands
homeless and destitute in the country's major towns.

"Now that we have covered all urban areas including small towns, the
operation is going to replicate itself in rural areas," police spokesperson
Wayne Bvudzijena said on Saturday.

"The issue is we want to stop illegal activities so that people follow the
law in the way they conduct their business."

"The operation will continue until we are satisfied it has achieved it's
objectives. We will soon be revisiting all the areas that we have already
covered to ensure people are complying."

Bands of armed police have gone on the rampage over the past month in major
towns across Zimbabwe, demolishing and torching backyard shacks and
makeshift shop stalls in a campaign that has drawn widespread international

The operation has so far left between 200 000 and 1.5 million people
homeless, according to the United Nations and the opposition respectively.

'Lacks planning and foresight'

The double-barrelled crackdown, code-named Operation Murambatsvina (Get rid
of trash) and referred to as "tsunami" among urban dwellers, has spawned a
new class of destitute families living and sleeping in the open in several
townships and slums on the outskirts of Harare.

Some families have relocated to their rural homes while some who could not
find transport because of fuel shortages, resorted to burning their property
in frustration.

The crackdown has extended to rural areas and the police have thus far
destroyed backyard shacks and vending stalls in Guruve, in northwestern
Zimbabwe, Shurugwi in the central Midlands province and a rural service
centre in eastern Manicaland province.

"This whole exercise lacks planning and foresight," Alouis Chaumba, director
of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace said.

"Now that that it's extending to rural areas, nobody is spared and we wonder
at the wisdom of such an exercise that leaves people homeless in this winter

"We are not opposed to a genuine clean-up campaign but we are against the
inhuman and violent manner of this campaign."

Zimbabwe's former information minister Jonathan Moyo, a former protege of
President Robert Mugabe who in the past vociferously defended the ageing
leader's policies, denounced the operation as "barbaric" at a public debate
on Thursday in Harare.

Mugabe, who has led the country since independence from Britain in 1980, has
said the campaign is aimed at improving people's lives and creating "better
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Suspected Zim spy released on bail - report
          June 18 2005 at 11:19AM

      Harare - A member of a suspected spy ring arrested in December last
year in Zimbabwe on charges of selling information about President Robert
Mugabe's party to South Africa has been released on bail, a daily reported
on Saturday.

      "High Court Judge Anne-Marie Gowora yesterday released (Kenny) Karidza
on one million Zimbabwe dollars (about R700) bail and ordered him to
surrender his documents with the clerk of court," the state-run Herald said.

      The judge threw out an appeal by the prosecution against an earlier
decision by a Harare magistrate to grant Karidza bail.

      Karidza is a music promoter and deputy director for security for the
governing Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU PF).

      He was arrested in December last year together with ruling party
external affairs director Itai Marchi, lawmaker Philip Chiyangwa, diplomat
Godfrey Dzvairo and banker Itai Matambanadzo.

      A 15-day trial of Ambassador-designate to Mozambique Dzvairo,
Matambanadzo and Marchi ended February 8 with convictions against all three
for breaching the Officials Secrets Act.

      Magistrate Peter Kumbawa sentenced Dzvairo to six years in jail, and
the other two accused to five years each.

      They were the first convictions emanating from a scandal in which six
members of the ruling Zanu-PF party were accused of being part of an
espionage ring providing neighbouring South Africa with information on the
party's affairs.

      The affair came to light when an alleged South African spy was nabbed
by Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Organisation operatives at Victoria Falls
in December.

      Under questioning, he gave the names of alleged collaborators within
the governing party.

      In a twist to the espionage saga, Zimbabwe's director of public
prosecution was quoted in a local weekly in May as saying the South African
national was a "witness," contradicting earlier reports that he was part of
the spy ring.

      Dzvairo, Marchi and Matambanadzo pleaded guilty to the charges at
their first court appearance on December 24 but they later sought
unsuccessfully to change the pleas on the grounds that their confession had
been extracted under duress.

      The three men were accused of being part of a ring run by Chiyangwa, a
provincial party chairman, who has yet to face trial.

      Chiyangwa, a flamboyant businessman with an extravagant lifestyle who
allegedly received $10 000 dollars a month to pass on intelligence to South
Africa, was freed by the High Court, which ruled that there was no evidence
against him.

      The sixth person allegedly connected to the affair, Zimbabwean
diplomat Erasmus Moyo, reportedly escaped while being moved from Geneva to

Back to the Top
Back to Index



Pastoral Letter Of The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference

June 2005

We, the members of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, issued a press
statement on June 2, 2005, in regard to the 'clean up' operation, dubbed
'Operation Restore Order'' in which we expressed our dismay at the suffering
and hardship experienced by the most vulnerable members of society in some
areas nationwide. Now, almost four weeks after the event, countless numbers
men, women with babies, children of school age, the old and the sick,
continue to
sleep in the open air at winter temperatures near to freezing.  These
people urgently need shelter, food, clothing, medicines, etc.   Any claim to
justify this operation in view of a desired orderly end becomes totally
in view of the cruel and inhumane means that have been used. People have a
right to shelter and that has been deliberately destroyed in this operation
much warning. While we all desire orderliness, alternative accommodation and
sources of income should have been identified and provided before the
and stoppage of informal trading. We condemn the gross injustice done to the

As a follow-up to our press statement, we wish to offer a pastoral
reflection on recent events based on Scripture and on the Social Teaching of
the Church.


In the gospel of Sunday, June 5, while these events were taking place, Jesus
tells us "what I want is mercy, not sacrifice' (Mt. 9:13).  His words
reflect those of the Old Testament prophets who continually state that
prayers and
sacrifices are of no value unless  there is concern for the poor and needy
(Amos 5:1-4).   There has been no concern for the poor and needy in this
Operation and the prayers and offerings of those responsible find no favour

The prophet Isaiah reminds us "to share our bread with the hungry, to
shelter the homeless poor and to clothe the man seen to be naked .... (Is.
The entire ministry of Jesus is marked by concern for the weak and
Jesus tells us that we will be judged at the end of time on whether we have
shared this concern, and he has terrible words to say to those who saw him
hungry, thirsty, a stranger, or naked, or sick (or homeless ...) and
neglected to help him (Mt. 25:42 -46).

As Christians we must hear the cry of the poor and the homeless in our
townships and villages   and  support  them in their efforts to gradually
rebuild their lives.   In this task we should be motivated and guided by the
Social Teaching of the Church.


The Social Teaching of the Church sheds the light of the gospel on issues
that affect our lives in society, and offers the church's wisdom, insight
experience in dealing with them.  This teaching, based on scripture, has
developed over  more than a hundred years, and is mainly found  in   Papal
letters and  documents emanating from Synods and Conferences of Bishops.  It
contains a number of principles, which are particularly relevant at this

1. The Dignity of the Human Person

Created in the image and likeness of God (Gen.1:26-27), each person has an
innate human dignity,  given to us, not by secular authorities, but by the
Creator himself.  This dignity was gravely violated by the ruthless manner
in which 'Operation Restore Order' was conducted in the townships and other

Every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out for
vengeance to God and is an offence against the Creator of the individual
(Christifideles Laici, 37 - Pope John Paul 11).

2.  The Basic Rights of the Human Person

Basic human rights are an offshoot of our God-given dignity.  Every human
being  - man, woman and child - has the right to life, shelter, clothing,
education, health care, employment, etc. These basic rights have been and
are being violated.  No secular authority, no group, or no individual should
allowed to violate such rights.

As Christian leaders we must continually remind  authorities of  both  their
duty to respect and uphold human rights, and of the serious consequences of
failure to observe such rights. Furthermore, it is our duty as a teaching
Church to form and educate Christian people in rights, values and
principles - a
task that we will continue to perform.

3.  The Promotion of the Common Good

Public authorities should promote the common good of all members of
society - not  the good  of an elite group -  by creating an environment  in
economic, social, cultural and political life can flourish. In such an
environment all citizens  - including those who have lost their homes and
livelihoods - can have access to the goods of the earth which are intended
by God to be equally shared. The promotion of the common good should be the
first priority of public policy, not the promotion of party political aims.

"It is the proper function of authority to arbitrate, in the name of the
common good, between various particular interests; but it should make
accessible to
each what is needed to lead a truly human life: food, clothing, health,
work, education and culture, suitable information, the right to establish a
family, and so on.'   (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1992, par. 1909) In
order of things, people always come first and cannot be subservient to an
a political agenda or an ideology for that matter.

4. The Option for the Poor

In the application of the principle of the common good, some people remain
poor and marginalised.  The church must show particular concern for them.
moral test of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members.   As
Christians we must continue to examine public policy decisions, including
related to housing, health care and food security, in terms of how they
affect the
poor, and bow our heads in shame at the nation-wide operation that has
greatly increased poverty and destitution in all areas. The interference
with informal
trading, which supports formal trading, can only accelerate our economic
decline. The option for the poor, most of whom are informal traders, is an
essential part of society's effort to achieve the common good of all its
members. To the Church, the poor are a treasure (St. Laurence, in Butler,
Lives of the Saints, 10 August).

5.  Subsidiarity

The principle of subsidiarity refers to passing powers downward from the top
to the grassroots, or as close to the grassroots as possible. The principle
implies a preference for local over central decision making.  Central
authority should support local authority efforts and only undertake those
tasks which local
bodies cannot achieve.  If there is a 'clean-up' required on our streets or
if there is a problem of criminality in the townships,  it is essentially
task of local authorities - including community/residents associations and
bodies - supported by the police and the courts, to deal with these
This should take place in an ordered process over a period of time, and in a
way that promotes and preserves human dignity, people's rights and the
common good.

6.  Solidarity

As sons and daughters of our loving Father, we are all sisters and brothers
who are called by God to build a society where we can live together in
solidarity with each other. Solidarity means being ready to see the other
person as
another "self" and to regard acts of injustice done to others as done to
Solidarity is not a passing feeling of distress at the suffering of others.
Rather, it is a commitment to stand side-by-side with those who are without
shelter and means of livelihood,  to do what one can do to rectify a
situation of  grave injustice,  and to promote  the common good. The
principle of solidarity reflects St. Paul's theology of the body of Christ:
where one person suffers, each person suffers and the whole body is weakened
(1 Cor 12:12-30).

Reflection  on the above six principles should concern all members of
society, for  a whole nation has suffered because of  recent and ongoing
Specifically as Christians, we cannot  pick and choose which principles we
wish to follow;  all of them are binding.  Putting them into practice in
life is as important as going to Church on Sundays.

Finally, we repeat what we said on a previous occasion:  '...we call upon
all those (Christians in particular) who hold special responsibilities in
society, be it government, the business community or other spheres of
influence, to
exercise your duties according to the social teaching of the Church .....We
cannot lead a double way of life, one for Sunday services in Church and
another for our public  tasks, be they political,  economic, social or other
kind.  We are always called to be guided by our conscience and to live our
faith as an integral part of our lives '  (ZCBC, Lenten Pastoral Letter,
March 2003, Par.7:3)

As always our prayer for you is PEACE BE WITH YOU.
+Mt. Rev. Robert C. Ndlovu of Harare
+Mt. Rev. Pius Alec M. Ncube of Bulawayo
+Rt. Rev. Michael D. Bhasera of Masvingo (ZCBC President)
+Rt. Rev. Alexio Churu Muchabaiwa of Mutare
+Rt. Rev. Angel Floro of Gokwe
+Rt. Rev. Patrick M. Mutume, Auxiliary Bishop of Mutare
Very Rev. Fr. Alphonse Mapfumo - Administrator of Gweru
Very Rev. Fr. Matthew Jonga - Administrator of Chinhoyi
Very Rev. Fr. Albert Serrano, SMI - Administrator of Hwange

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwe Information Minister Stands By Housing Crackdown By Chris Gande
      17 June 2005

A government spokesman continued to defend Harare's massive eviction and
demolition program as a necessary step to cleaning up the cities. Zimbabwean
Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya said in an interview with Studio 7
reporter Chris Gande that Operation Murambatsvina has helped eliminate
unhealthy urban conditions and a social environment that was promoting
crime. He said that the operation was going well, charging that
nongovernmental organizations in league with foreign enemies of Zimbabwe are
painting an unduly negative picture of the operation.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2005 4:17 PM
Subject: A battered kettle

Dear Family and Friends,
I am in deep shock at the situation in Marondera as the government's
"Operation Restore Order" to cleanse the town has gone into its third
week. Everywhere you look you see only desperation, fear and shock on
people's faces. Everyone is saying the same thing : "But why are they
doing this to us, what are we going to do, where can we go, we are going
to die."  On a short drive around Marondera town the aftermath is there
for all who care to see. There are mounds of rubble on street corners,
stacks of timber, tin and asbestos piled on road sides, dismantled
pre-fabricated houses leaning against trees and people staring in shock at
what was there one day and gone the next.

In a piece of grassy waste land near a big supermarket I saw a woman
sitting surrounded by her life's possessions on Friday morning. A battered
kettle, a plastic basin and a small pile of clothes tied up in a blanket.
In the town you can see many people still desperately looking for
somewhere to stay after their homes have been demolished. Young women
carrying suitcases with babies strapped on their backs, calling to others
for advice - "where can we go", "do you know of anywhere".  On one street
corner I saw a man sitting on top of a pile of rubble and next to him in
the dust and filth were a battered cardboard suitcase, a rolled up grass
sleeping mat and a small wardrobe. Another man passed me on the main road
pushing a supermarket trolley which was crammed with his life's
possessions - pots and pans, a tin bucket, a thin foam mattress and a
threadbare grey blanket.

At the bus stop on the outskirts of Marondera town, at least a hundred
people wait, surging out into the road as every vehicle approaches,
desperate for a lift. After three months of chronic fuel shortages lifts
are few and far between and most people travel only when they have to.

This week on state owned television there was film footage of this
"cleansing" operation starting on farms. Peasant farmers, surrounded by
their furniture, clothes and harvested crops, being evicted from the farms
that the government seized from white commercial farmers. This week there
was also the news that one of just a few commercial farmers left in
Marondera was forced off his land. He had to leave behind the export crop
of flowers and the fields of newly germinated winter wheat.

It is ironic that while hundreds of thousands of people continue to be
forced into poverty in Zimbabwe, pop stars and politicians are planning to
"make poverty history" in Africa and world leaders talk about forgiving us
our debt. There seems no sense to this whatsoever. Please keep the utterly
desperate plight of hundreds of thousands of displaced Zimbabweans in your
minds and prayers. With love, cathy Copyright cathy buckle 18th June 2005
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Wolfowitz says Zimbabwe evictions 'a tragedy'
Sat Jun 18, 2005 10:51 AM ET

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is in "pretty bad shape and getting
worse," new World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said on Saturday, adding
that reports of thousands being driven from informal settlements was a

Speaking between meetings in South Africa's commercial center Johannesburg
at the end of a tour of Africa that has also taken him to Nigeria, Burkina
Faso and Rwanda, Wolfowitz said leadership was key to solving the
continent's problems.

"It is certainly true that leadership can be a critical factor and the four
countries I've visited have good leadership and that is why they have been
making progress," the former U.S. deputy defense secretary told Reuters
shortly before meeting South African President Thabo Mbeki.

But Wolfowitz said South Africa's northern neighbor Zimbabwe, which is
suffering from inflation, economic collapse and food shortages, was in a
"pretty bad shape and getting worse."

Aid workers say around 200,000 Zimbabweans have been made homeless by a
recent blitz by President Robert Mugabe's government on informal settlements
and stalls, hurting a population already hit by AIDS and bad harvests.

"These latest reports of hundreds and thousands of people driven out of
their homes is both inhuman and it must do enormous damage to development
prospects for the country," he said. "It's a tragedy."
Back to the Top
Back to Index