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      UN envoy in Zimbabwe amid outcry over crackdown

      Sun June 26, 2005 5:35 PM GMT+02:00
      By MacDonald Dzirutwe

      HARARE (Reuters) - A special envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan arrived on an assessment trip in Zimbabwe on Sunday amid a mounting
global outcry over President Robert Mugabe's crackdown on illegal

      Anna Tibaijuka, the executive director of UN-HABITAT, the global
body's housing agency, will spend several days observing the results of
"Operation Restore Order," a clean-up campaign that has demolished tens of
thousands of homes and shops and left as many as 300,000 people homeless.

      "I'm here at the request of the secretary-general to assess the
situation here and to see how we can work together to put everything in the
way that everybody would like to have them," Tibaijuka, of Tanzania, told

      "We are basically looking at the Operation ... and to see the impact
and how we can work together to assist all those affected. The
secretary-general is of course following the situation with keen interest."

      Tibaijuka's trip comes as Western countries ramp up their criticism of
the operation, which has seen at least two children crushed to death in
demolished houses and deprived countless families of housing or income.

      British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw last week accused Mugabe of
perpetrating a "horror" on his own people, while European Union Commission
President Jose Manuel Barroso chided the African Union on Saturday for
failing to take a strong enough stance on Zimbabwe's human rights record.

      Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon said on Sunday Africa's
failure to act on Zimbabwe could hamper a deal by the G8 group of rich
countries to secure a deal on tackling African poverty at the G8 summit in
Scotland next week.

      Mugabe, whom critics accuse of using the campaign to target political
opponents in Zimbabwe's urban shantytowns, said he welcomed the chance to
explain the operation to the U.N.

      "Our people ... deserve much better than the shacks that are now being
romanticised as fitting habitats for them," Mugabe said in remarks published
in the state media on Saturday.


      Mugabe repeated that the operation was aimed at rooting out black
market trading and other lawlessness in poor urban neighbourhoods, as well
as to address health problems created by overcrowding and poor sanitation.

      The state-run Sunday Mail newspaper quoted highly placed sources as
saying the demolition operation was almost complete and would be followed by
a new programme to build houses and business premises for those caught in
the crackdown on illegal buildings.

      "Emphasis has been placed on the need to complete the reconstruction
in the next two months to ensure that all the people affected by 'Operation
Restore Order' will have shelter by the time the rains start falling," the
newspaper said.

      The newspaper said Mugabe had told a central committee meeting of his
ruling ZANU-PF party on Friday that 3 trillion Zimbabwean dollars had been
budgeted for the new building drive.

      The clean-up campaign has added to the woes of ordinary Zimbabweans,
who are already facing their country's worst economic crisis since
independence in 1980 with shortages of food, fuel and foreign exchange.

      Mugabe -- who dismisses opposition and Western accusations that his
ZANU-PF party rigged its big victory in March parliamentary elections -- 
says Zimbabwe is being sabotaged by domestic and foreign opponents of his
land redistribution programme which seized white-owned farms for landless

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Sunday Independent, SA

      ANC sticks to 'blind diplomacy' on Zimbabwe
            June 26, 2005

              By Christelle Terreblanche

            As more than 200 non-governmental organisations spoke out
against human rights violations in Zimbabwe this week, South Africa's
parliament ended its session without discussing its own report on Zimbabwe's
March 31 election.

            Three months have passed since ANC MPs returned from their
observer mission to declare the election "legitimate and fair".

            The poll returned President Robert Mugabe to power with a
two-thirds majority, and he wasted no time in launching Operation
Murambatsvina, meaning "Drive out trash", destroying homes and businesses in
urban areas in an effort to relocate people to the rural areas.

            International human rights groups this week estimated that 1,5
million people had lost their homes in the campaign so far. The South
African government, however, has continued its policy of "quiet diplomacy".

            Calls from the opposition in parliament for the report on the
election to be discussed have gone unheeded.

            At a series of news conferences in Africa and at the United
Nations coming before International Day Against Torture this week, more than
200 international human rights and civic groups said the Zimbabwean
government's campaign was "a grave violation of international human rights
and a disturbing affront to human dignity".

            Yesterday churches in Bulawayo held an ecumenical service to
demand the end of the campaign, which they equate with torture. Reverend
Graham Shaw of Christians Together for Justice and Peace said: "To
deliberately destroy the homes and belongings of those with no alternative
accommodation and leave them out in the cold in the middle of winter is a
form of torture. People have suffered injury and there have been deaths of
the vulnerable, the elderly and young children."

            It is understood that churches in Zimbabwe, which have been
divided over Mugabe's atrocities in the past, are more united in their
effort to speak out in the wake of the campaign.

            When parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete was asked the reasons
for the delay in debating and releasing the observer mission's report, her
adviser, Lulamila Mapaloma, said her office had received the report too late
to schedule it for the cycle that ended on Friday. Mapaloma said it would be
tabled immediately when parliament reconvened in August.

            "It is regarded as very, very urgent," he said.

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Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
Sokwanele Report : 26 June 2005

Victims take refuge with their belongings  in a local church yard.It was on June 26, 1987 that the United Nation's Convention against Torture first came into force and in 1997, to highlight their plight, the UN General Assembly officially proclaimed June 26 as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Sadly only 130 of the 190 UN member states have so far ratified the Convention. Zimbabwe is one of those states which have not. Parliament in fact voted to ratify the Convention but to date the Minister of Home Affairs and the President have not done so, leaving Zimbabwe out in the cold as one of those rogue states which refuse to take seriously the fundamental issue of human rights. UN member states which sign the Convention render themselves accountable under international law to take action to prevent torture and to support the victims when torture takes place. Clearly therefore a rogue state like Zimbabwe under ZANU PF rule, which resorts to torture routinely as a measure of coercive control over a disenchanted population, is not going to accept the principle of accountability, let alone agree to support the victims. Yet through Parliament the people have spoken, and it is clearly their will that the Convention against Torture should be accepted and implemented. Arguably therefore it falls to the people of Zimbabwe to remedy the obstructive policies and delinquent practices of their rulers and to take it upon themselves to act forthwith on the basis that the Convention is binding.

This would imply three things at the very least for those trade unions, churches, student, civic and other groups which support the Convention - first that they take up the task of carefully monitoring the continuing human rights abuses with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice when the rule of law has been restored; then that they take every opportunity to expose those abuses before the international community; and thirdly that they provide immediate practical support and succour for the victims.

In any event, whether Zimbabwe is a signatory of the UN Convention against Torture or not, torture remains a crime under international law and in a number of recent instances the United Nations has shown its collective will to bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as circumstances will allow. Those who seek to uphold the principle of accountability for the perpetrators of gross human rights abuses, should bear this in mind - particularly when they are confronted, as in our case, by a regime which is deliberately fostering a culture of impunity.

In recent years the Mugabe regime has been responsible, directly or indirectly, for a huge number of human rights violations, including torture. At the time of writing the two most obvious and widespread instances are the so-called Murambatsvina campaign (meaning "Clear away the Trash") and the continuing use of food as a weapon of political coercion. Estimates of those rendered homeless under "Murambatsvina" - or what has been called the "Mugabe tsunami" - vary from 300,000 to over a million, and of those who have lost their livelihood or source of income through the destruction of the informal sector, between 3 and 4 million.

As we pointed out in an earlier Sokwanele article* not even in apartheid South Africa was such a huge number of people forcibly relocated within the space of a few days. There is no precedent in southern Africa for such an attack upon a section of the population in a nation supposedly not at war with itself. The victims of the politicization of food on the other hand are often far less visible - indeed deliberately so as far as the regime is concerned, so that estimating their numbers is more problematic.

Both of these calculated terror campaigns clearly fall within the broad definition of "torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" which the UN Convention outlaws. Moreover since the perpetrator is the regime itself or its agents, we have here a situation in which the State is waging an undeclared war on its own people, and in such a situation the normal principle of non-intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state yields to the obligation for the United Nations to intervene in defence of the victims. As in Darfur so in Zimbabwe. (The only difference between the two is perhaps in the degree of openness of the violence used by the state against its citizens).

So when the Mugabe's storm troops systematically and on a grand scale demolish the homes of the urban poor who have no alternative shelter, and when they destroy the only means of financial support of the vast informal sector at a time when the economy is collapsing and famine is threatening - and when these acts are clearly unlawful even under Zimbabwean law - the case for the UN to intervene becomes overwhelming. In short the atrocities now being carried out by the Mugabe regime not only invite international censure, but require UN intervention in support of the victims.

How has the international community responded to these outrages? Leaving aside the responses of other governments, we bring you a sample of the world-wide chorus of condemnation from human rights organisations, churches, NGOs and UN officials:

Amnesty International

"Amnesty International is appalled by this flagrant disregard for human rights. Forced evictions without due process, legal protection, redress and appropriate relocation measures, are completely contrary to international human rights." (Amnesty's Africa Programme director, Kolawole Olaniyan)

The United Nations

"We are seeing in the world, and Zimbabwe is a good example now, the creation of a new kind of apartheid where the rich and the poor are being segregated." (Miloon Kothari, UN special envoy on housing)

"The evictions in Zimbabwe may constitute a crime against humanity since the Statute of the International Criminal Court clearly prohibits the deportation and forcible transfer of population under certain conditions that appear to be present in the Zimbabwean operation." (UN Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions)

Non-Governmental Organisations

"Effectively, the state is at the forefront of undermining the rule of law … This move by the government encourages anarchy." (Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director, Arnold Tsunga)

"The Crisis Coalition strongly condemns this uncivilised behaviour and urges the government to halt its illegal attacks against the unemployed, women and the poor." (Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition - an alliance of NGOs fighting for human rights and good governance in Zimbabwe)

The Church

"It's social engineering with sledgehammers." (Oskar Wermter, Jesuit priest in Harare)

"This is genocide policy. It's a strategy of letting the urban population die by leaving them to starve in the bush rather than facing the bullets of Mugabe's goons. It doesn't cost them a cent." (Dr Steve Kibble of the Catholic Institute for International Relations)

The action was "cruel" and "inhumane". The "innate human dignity … given to us by the Creator himself … was gravely violated by the ruthless manner in which the operation was conducted (which) cries out for vengeance to God." (Pastoral Letter from the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference)

"Our members who are doing pastoral work in the areas targeted by this operation have reported that the police were very provocative, offensive and unsympathetic to the feelings of the people … We call on this government to engage in a war against poverty and not against the poor." (Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference)

The UN has called on the Mugabe regime to halt its campaign of mass evictions which is "a clear violation of human rights", and the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has despatched the executive director of the Nairobi-based UN-Habitat, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, on an urgent mission to asses the situation at first hand.

Thabo Mbeki and some of the regional leaders have already demonstrated their determination, so far as the Mugabe regime is concerned, to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". However the broader international community has indicated it is not going to look the other way this time. Which makes it all the more important that Zimbabwean society should take upon itself urgently the tasks outlined above, namely monitoring the human rights abuses, exposing every instance of torture and standing with the victims in their desperate need.

For the peace-loving, law-abiding citizens of Zimbabwe who long to see the back of this corrupt regime, this is surely the best way to commemorate the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26.

*"Murambatsvina - An Overview and Summary" : 18 June 2005

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The Future of Agriculture.

When Zimbabwe gained its independence from Britain in 1980 we inherited an
agricultural system which was not only capable of feeding the country but
was also able to do so at prices that were significantly below those of all
our neighboring States. The system generated half our exports, 25 per cent
of GDP and a third of all employment.

The system was then made up of 6 000 large scale farmers - 1200 of them
companies, some with multinational connections, some 800 000 peasant farmers
and 23 000 small scale commercial farmers. The peasant farming sector
generated about half the basic food needs of the country and 70 per cent of
the cotton. The small-scale farmers had the highest average incomes per
capita in the rural sector and the large-scale farmers had a well deserved
reputation for conservation, productivity and quality.

At that time the country was the largest producer and exporter of tobacco,
cotton, beef and white maize in Africa. We also exported sugar, coffee,
timber, tea and a number of other products. Protected initially by the
Lancaster House constitution, the farming industry boomed for the first
decade after independence. Average growth per annum over this time was over
10 per cent per annum and it made a significant contribution to national
growth and output. By 1985 the tobacco industry had recovered from the years
of sanctions and was number three in the world behind the USA and Brazil.

The land redistribution programme also made steady progress during this
time - some 3,6 million hectares of land was purchased under willing seller
willing buyer arrangements and settled by a significant number of otherwise
landless people. By 1995 commercial farmers occupied 12 million hectares of
land, of which only 8 million was actually owned and occupied by white
farmers. 1200 black large-scale commercial farmers had entered the industry

Today the whole system lies in ruins - some 600 large-scale commercial
farmers remain, but their possession is tenuous and insecure. A number of
foreign owned farming enterprises - some of them very large - continue to
function. But by and large the whole system has collapsed. Food prices are
now well above regional averages and the system can barely produce a third
to half of what the country needs to feed itself.

The network of research stations, manufacturing and distribution companies
that provided inputs and services to the industry have almost all gone.
Fertilizer, seed and chemicals are difficult to find and even more expensive
to buy. Fuel is a constant nightmare and the electricity grid in rural areas
is in a very poor state.

A feature of this collapse that is often overlooked is that the peasant
sector has shown a similar pattern of collapse to that of the large-scale
commercial farming sector. This is despite the fact that it has not been
affected by the same dislocation as the latter. The reasons for this are
many - HIV/Aids, the migration of adults to the cities and neighboring
States and the affect of the deterioration in input supply and other
services. The dislocation of marketing systems and the rise of corruption in
all dealings with farmers has exacerbated the situation. So Zimbabwe now
faces a situation where not only it cannot feed its cities, the peasant
sector is also now a net imported of food.

What is the outlook? I am afraid the outlook is very gloomy. I am told that
when the State President was given the first estimate of winter cropping he
was extremely angry, as plantings are so small. But it is not just that -
much of the winter crop has been planted late - I saw one farmer trying to
plant wheat last week, a full month too late. In addition, shortages of
herbicides and fertilizers will reduce yields. I am also told that tobacco
seed sales - the first indication of next years crop, are half what they
were at this time last year.

Agriculture is not kind to those who abuse her cycles. Tobacco land
preparation should be completed in April, seedbeds in May, other dry land
cropping areas should be prepared no later than July. Early tobacco goes in
shortly - irrigated and reaping can start as early as November. Wheat must
be planted by the 20th of May. Maize must go in before the 15th of November.

Any disruption of these cycles means lower yields and production and reaping
problems. To achieve them a complex and wide array of resources must be made
available and on time - financing, fertilizer, chemicals, fuel, seed and
equipment must be maintained in the off season so that it is available
during the season. The managers who made all this possible are gone - driven
out of the country by the land invasions, political and economic uncertainty
or just concern about the future of families. It is not something you can
put together again in a short period of time. Some might say it can never be
put back together again.

One thing is absolutely sure, without a stable political and economic
environment, without security of tenure and security of assets, no recovery
is likely. On the contrary, under present conditions the situation can only
get worse. The State continues to dispossess farmers - tobacco farmers are
being forced off their properties with cured crops in their barns. Dairy
farmers are still being harassed and the tiny pockets of remaining expertise
and genetic stocks are being threatened or wiped out by illegal invasions on
the part of politically connected thugs.

The Murambatsvina campaign may be partly designed to force people out of the
towns and into the rural areas to "grow food" but this is unlikely to
happen. Conditions in rural areas are desperate and it is much more likely
that the economically active adults will simply seek greener pastures across
the Limpopo or chose to sit it out in even more squalid camps and other
informal settlements.

Even after the coming political transition, the reconstruction of the rural
economy is going to take many years and will require very careful planning
and implementation. It is unlikely that subsistence peasant style
agriculture will ever be able to feed the nation or replace lost exports.
More than likely Zimbabwe will have to painfully reconstruct its large-scale
commercial farming industry piece by piece. That will require, contrary to
present wisdom, security of tenure underwritten by a new constitution and a
firm undertaking by new leaders that the madness of the recent past will
never be allowed to happen again.

Another factor that must be borne in mind is that any future development in
terms of global warming will make both South Africa and Zimbabwe drier and
the weather unstable. This will make it even more important to re-establish
a sophisticated and well-managed large scale farming industry than before.
This could then be used to foster small-scale commercial agriculture and a
transformation of the peasant sector so that Zimbabwe can regain its
position as a leader on the continent in all things to do with farming.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 27th June 2005
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From The Sunday Times (SA), 26 June

Destitution and despair in the new Zimbabwe ruins

Robert Mugabe's government is destroying the homes and lives of its own
people, writes Dingilizwe Ntuli

For many years, one of the main attractions of the populous township of
Mbare, just outside Harare, was the Mupedzanhamo flea market near Rufaro
Stadium, where one could get anything from shirt buttons to a second-hand
car engine. Loosely translated, Mupedzanhamo means "ending all your social
and economic problems" - and this market provided sustenance for hundreds of
traders, some of whom had their sleeping quarters here. But when I went to
Mupedzanhamo this week, all I found was rubble and scrap metal, with some
people rummaging through the debris to salvage anything they could lay their
hands on. Mupedzanhamo is just one landmark that has fallen victim to the
Harare City Council's so-called clean-up exercise, Operation Murambatsvina
(Drive Out Filth). Since it began about a month ago, thousands of shacks,
tuck shops and cottages have been demolished, throwing about 300000 people
into the streets, with no shelter and now no source of income as their
trading stalls are no more. What motivated this operation, which has left a
swathe of destruction and exacerbated homelessness and joblessness?

Harare City Council spokesman Lesley Gwindi told me that service delivery
was the reason the council had mounted the operation against all illegal
structures. "People had been blaming us for [lack of] service delivery but
the issue is that there were just too many people staying in these areas,
but with only a few paying for services. "We had lost accountability because
we didn't know how many people stayed in a particular area. We want everyone
to pay for services and will not allow a situation whereby some people make
money at the expense of the council," said Gwindi. He said that the
black-market economy, which was thriving in the informal sector, was
threatening the formal economy, and that the informal settlements had become
hotbeds of crime. The hardest-hit victims of the "clean-up" live in
outlying, densely populated townships such as Mbare, Warren Park, Mabvuku,
Tafara and Chitungwiza, 23km south of Harare, Tafara attracted media
attention this week when two children were killed when a wall collapsed on
them as government bulldozers got to work.

In Harare's dormitory town of Chitungwiza I meandered through rubble and
household goods strewn about chaotically, as if a malevolent god had just
unleashed his wrath upon these people. People huddled around bonfires and
steaming kettles trying to coax some warmth into their bodies, which had
been exposed to the elements since the bulldozers struck. I saw some
sleeping in the open, miserable spectres ravaged by the Zimbabwean winter
where night-time temperatures plummet to 10°C. Raphael Kaunye, a middle-aged
man from Chitungwiza, said his life was now worse than that of a street
child. I found him lying next to what remained of his home of 21 years - a
heap of rubble, wooden wardrobes, bedsprings, tin plates and cups under a
lemon tree. "My flower stall at Africa Unity [in central Harare] was
destroyed and now my house has been demolished. I have lived here for 21
years and I don't know what to do," said Kaunye. Kaunye said he now had no
income and was thinking of moving his two daughters and wife to his home
village in Mutoko, 200km north of Harare. His eldest daughter, aged 13, is
in her first year at secondary school, while the youngest is only seven
years old.

Kaunye said he had taken them out of school because he no longer had an
income. "I will be taking them to my rural home at the end of this month and
I will return to Harare to try to look for a job, but I don't know what will
become of my children," Kaunye said. At least Kaunye managed to salvage his
property before his home was demolished. He was at home when the council
bulldozer levelled his three-room house. "There was nothing I could do but
watch because the bulldozer was accompanied by armed policemen. They never
said a word but just destroyed my house, just like that. Why did they allow
us to build the houses in the first place if they are destroying them now?"
Others were not even able to salvage their possessions. Kudakwashe Machemera
came home from work to find his home of eight years reduced to rubble, and
his possessions destroyed. "I couldn't believe my eyes. My house was all
rubble. They had the cheek to bulldoze a locked house. "I lost everything in
the process because I never took out my stuff. I have now stopped going to
work because I have nowhere to stay. "This very government used to promise
housing for all by the year 2000 - which they failed to achieve. And now
that we helped ourselves by building the houses ourselves, they are
destroying them. They are mad," said Machemera. He said he would not return
to his rural home because there was nothing for him to do there.

The authorities said the battle was against illegal shelters and illegal
trading premises, but I saw brick and cement houses being demolished. From
Chitungwiza, I moved on to Glen Norah and Highfield, townships which for a
long time were sustained by home industries. All you see now are tons of
rubble in place of what used to be thriving informal businesses. Former
merchants at a home industry in Glen Norah told me most of their machines
had been destroyed in the clean-up. "Bulldozers just appeared from nowhere
and started destroying the buildings in this place, causing so much chaos.
People were running and screaming, trying to take out whatever they could.
Thieves helped themselves to machines and property because once you took out
something and placed it outside, it would be gone by the time you came back
with other stuff," said Roselyn Machaya, who ran a tailor shop in the
compound. The traders had been paying monthly levies for the stalls. "Why
were they taking our money if the structures were illegal? We were allocated
these stands by the council and we are shocked that they now say they are
illegal. They have destroyed our livelihoods and I don't know what the
future holds for me now. I will go to the village and think of what to do
from there," said Machaya. But it's not only the township traders that have
been affected. Africa Unity Square in central Harare, once a buzzing tourist
attraction opposite parliament, is no more. The hundreds of traders who
operated from there are gone.

However, the council spokesman, Gwindi was adamant that the clean-up
operation had been successful. "Most of these people were allocated these
stands illegally and the truth is we have been agonising for a long time on
how to deal with this issue. We have been warning these people for the past
three years to stop erecting illegal structures but they didn't take us
seriously and it's sad that we had to take this route, but it's necessary,"
said Gwindi. He said most of the demolitions were done by the people
themselves and it was only when they failed to comply that council workers
had destroyed the buildings. The "Zimbabwe ruins" continue to pile up as the
operation steams ahead amid an international outcry, which has been ignored
by President Robert Mugabe's government.
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Zim Online
Mugabe-appointed judges ignore eviction mess
Mon 27 June 2005

HARARE - Zimbabwe's judiciary is hostage to the political establishment and cannot defend the rights of poor families evicted from their homes by the government, according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). 

Many judges were beneficiaries of a patronage network run by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party that they could not be expected to rule against the mass evictions that Mugabe himself has publicly defended, (ZLHR) public litigation project lawyer, Rangu Nyamurundira said.

"Our judiciary has generally failed to be custodians of the human rights due to its failure to remain independent from national and local politics of the day," Nyamurundira told ZimOnline.

The majority of Zimbabwe's judges appointed in the last five years after Mugabe purged the bench of independent judges are well-known ruling ZANU PF supporters.

For example, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, a distant relative of Mugabe, led a state commission that drafted a new constitution for Zimbabwe that was however rejected in a national referendum in 2000 because it would have further entrenched Mugabe's hold on power.

Prominent High Court Judge Ben Hlatshwayo was also one of the key officials of the constitutional commission.

Apart from lavish salaries and perks, several judges had also received land looted from white farmers by Mugabe and his government in the last five years.

The ZLHR is planning to file a constitutional appeal at Zimbabwe's highest court, the Supreme Court, to have the evictions declared a violation of the poor families' constitutional rights and therefore illegal.

But the lawyers group has already failed in one major case on behalf of evicted families when it sought the High Court to bar police from evicting members of Dare
reMusha Co-operative in Hatcliffe, just outside Harare, from residential stands allocated to them by the Harare city council.

CHILDREN look at what remains of their demolished home in Harare. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says judges in Zimbabwe have failed to defend the rights of the poor.

Justice Tedius Karwi ruled in favour of the state allowing the police to evict the families and destroy their houses because they had breached some council by-laws when constructing the houses.

In another case, the ZLHR also unsuccessfully applied to the High Court to stop the police from demolishing a feeding centre for orphans run by local non-governmental group, Batsiranai Children's Care.

The centre was destroyed last month after Hlatshwayo on two occasions postponed hearing the matter but refused to grant the centre a provisional order staying police action until the judge could hear and decide on the matter.

Chidyausiku and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa could not be reached for comment on the assertions by the ZLHR that many judges were not independent.

But Mugabe has in the past publicly declared that his government will not abide with court orders it believes are wrong. He did not say what constitutes a wrong court order. 

Close to a million people have been cast onto the streets after their informal businesses and homes were destroyed by the government in an urban clean-up drive that Mugabe says is necessary to restore law and order as well as the beauty of Zimbabwe's cities and towns.

Another 46 000 people have also been arrested under the campaign for allegedly selling basic goods without licences.

The United Nations, European Union, United States, Zimbabwean and international human rights groups have roundly condemned the clean-up exercise as a gross
violation of poor people's rights.

A special envoy of UN Secretary General Koffi Annan arrived in Zimbabwe at the weekend to assess the impact and effect of the mass evictions.

But the African Union has refused to condemn the evictions saying they were an internal matter and outside the purview of the continental body. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

I'm no US lackey, says UN envoy
Mon 27 June 2005
  HARARE - A United Nations (UN) special envoy rejected claims she was
acting on orders from Britain and the United States, telling journalists she
was in Zimbabwe
      to assess how the world body could help families left homeless by
President Robert Mugabe's controversial urban clean-up drive.

      UN-Habitat head Anna Tibaijuka dispatched to Harare on Sunday by UN
Secretary General Koffi Annan said she will meet government officials and
other key stakeholders to come up with a programme to help thousands of
families cast onto the streets after their homes and informal businesses
were destroyed by armed police and soldiers.

      She said: "We are basically looking at the (clean-up) operation and to
see the impact and how we can work together to assist those affected. The
secretary general is of course following the situation with keen interest so
we are going to be here for several days (to) see what is happening."

      Asked by a reporter whether she was under pressure from the US and
Britain to be tough on Harare and produce a damning report at the end of her
visit, Tibaijuka said she was in Zimbabwe as an envoy of Annan and that she
did not report to Washington or London. "I have been sent by the Secretary
General of the UN," she said.

      Britain and the US have been the leading voices in a round of
criticism by the international community against the clean-up drive that has
seen 46 000 people arrested for allegedly selling goods without licence
while close to a million people have been left without shelter after their
shanty homes in and near cities were destroyed.

      Mugabe has defended the mass evictions as necessary to weed out
sanctuaries of crime and to smash an illegal but thriving black-market for
basic goods and foreign
      currency in short supply in Zimbabwe. But the UN, European Union,
Commonwealth, G8 countries, Zimbabwean and international human rights groups
have condemned
      the campaign as a gross violation of poor people's rights.

      Tibaijuka's visit comes as the Commonwealth secretary general Don
Mckinnon warned that the Zimbabwe government's evictions could hamper
efforts by the G8 group of industrialised nations to secure a deal on
tackling poverty on the African continent.

      The African Union has been tight-lipped over the evictions which saw
the death of two children when they were crushed by rubble as police
demolished houses in Harare's Tafara and Chitungwiza suburbs. The police
deny any responsibility.

      UN officials in Zimbabwe said Tibaijuka was expected to meet Mugabe
either today or tomorrow and would also go to Caledonia farm, outside
Harare, where thousands
      of people are living in makeshift tents without food, toilets or clean
water. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

FEATURE: Tales of horror, despair in Zimbabwe's cities
Mon 27 June 2005
  HARARE - Tarzen Kurisi, 65, rummages through a pile of debris from what
was once a 10-roomed house at New Park, a housing co-operative a few
kilometers on the
      outskirts of Harare.

      Kurisi and many other residents of the settlement still cannot
comprehend why their homes were demolished, two weeks after bulldozers razed
      their houses in what the government said was a"clean-up" campaign.

      The campaign, referred to as a "tsunami" in Harare, has seen over 46
000 people arrested and a million rendered homeless after their homes were
demolished in what the government says is a campaign to restore the beauty
of cities and towns.

      "You should have been here when the bulldozer ploughed through the
outer walls, gunning for the main house before flattening that cottage to
appreciate police
      heartlessness," he says bending to pick up another brick from a pile
that resembles a bombed site.

      "The driver of the bulldozer seemed to enjoy every moment of it," adds
Kurisi, his voice shaking with emotion.

      Kurisi was busy trying to salvage the few usable building materials
from the heap of mangled door and window frames, sanitary pipes and
electrical tubing.

      Further down the dirt road, heaps of debris is all what is left of the
once neat rows of houses built at the farm after veterans of Zimbabwe's
1970s liberation war invaded the farm five years ago, with President Robert
Mugabe's tacit approval.

      It is among this rubble that Wisdom Chin'ai has fashioned a "home" out
of the few roofing sheets he salvaged from his floored four-bedroom house.
In the corner, are a pile of threadbare blankets and basic utensils, all
their earthly's possessions.

      "We have been sleeping here, enduring the cold since last week
together with our baby. I don't know what to do next or how I shall get back
to my home in Gokwe
      where authorities say we should return to. We had made this place home
for the past four years"

      Chin'ai doubts assurances by the government that the displaced people
would be relocated elsewhere or that new homes will be built for them.

      "We have seen it happen at Porta Farm. Even if they find alternative
sites, few of us can afford the high building costs now. It took me three
years to construct this house," he says, in almost an undertone.

      In 1991, the government rounded up all the homeless in Harare and
dumped them at Porta Farm, on the outskirts of the city. Government promises
to provide proper
      housing and running water at Porta Farm all came to nought.

      The four-week old crackdown has sparked international outrage with the
United States, Amnesty International, church and human rights groups all
condemning the
      exercise as a violation of the rights of the poor.

      But the government insists the campaign is necessary to restore sanity
in urban areas, also blamed for stoking the illegal foreign currency
parallel market.

      While it may have brought a semblance of order and cleanliness in
cities, critics say the government has simply pushed dirt under the carpet.

      But despite the slap in the face, not all have turned their backs on
the ruling ZANU PF party and Mugabe. Surprisingly, some war veterans'
unquestioned loyalty
      to Mugabe, in spite of so much pain inflicted on them by the ageing
Zimbabwean leader, remains intact.

      "We don't need your publicity. All you want is give credence to
Tsvangirai's (opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader) prediction
that all structures sprouting "like mushrooms" will be uprooted.

      "You want to expose our predicament to George Bush (United States
president) and Tony Blair (British premier) in support of Tsvangirai,"
charged a burly woman in her fifties, who was part of a group of settlers
evicted from Hydon Farm, on the outskirts of Harare. - ZimOnline

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Black-market petrol soars to $70 000 a litre

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-27

TRANSPORT woes worsened in Harare at the weekend as the fuel crisis in the
country continued to show no signs of improvement, with black market prices
hitting $70 000 a litre.

If the situation persists for another week, fewer people will be able to get
to work, thereby putting a serious dent on the economy, while desks in some
classrooms will remain empty.
Sources at the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) yesterday said they
had received 2 million litres of diesel and an equal amount of petrol, which
were already on their way to service stations across the country.
It could not be established, however, whether the delivery was a once-off
event or was the first step towards overturning the critical situation.
But with the current shortage of foreign currency, it will take long before
the situation gets back to normal.
On Friday, some workers arrived at work at lunchtime, while the number of
motor vehicles on the roads continues to dwindle.
In most high-density suburbs, few conventional buses were running, forcing
people to walk long distances from the traditional pick-up points in search
of alternative transport into the city centre.
In Kuwadzana on Friday, only two buses took turns to ferry people from
morning up to midday, a development that saw most commuters heading to
Bulawayo Road.
A human chain formed along the highway as other residents from nearby areas
such as Tynwald, Cold Comfort and Dzivarasekwa joined the search for
But unlike previous occasions, the commuters were stranded for hours, as
alternative transport such as lorries and private cars could not cope with
the large numbers.
Scores of commuters returned home after failing to get transport to work,
while those who managed to do so knocked off early.
"I think this is the worst crisis since the turn of the century. It is
better for me to go back home while it is still early. From the look of
things, it will be a disaster when people return home from work. I cannot
afford to spend more than six hours waiting for transport as I did in the
morning," one commuter said.
The transport blues have seen commuters forking out at least $5 000 dollars
for a trip which normally costs $3 000. Sometimes the fare goes up to $10
"The transport situation is terrible. We are losing many hours of production
while searching for transport and it seems there is no solution to the
problem," Daniel Phiri of Mabvuku said.
He added that the government should find a lasting solution to the fuel
"What we have seen over the past month or so is that government is
implementing stop-gap measures to ease the fuel crisis. What is needed is a
permanent solution," Phiri said.
Scores of people intending to attend church services in town yesterday could
be seen frantically waving down private motorists, some using Bibles to
indicate that they intended to go for prayers.
On their part, the motorists are now carefully planning their journeys and
are also avoiding speeding to conserve the little fuel they have left.

Last month, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe made available US$18 million to
NOCZIM for fuel procurement. However, the money was enough to buy petroleum
lasting less than a fortnight.
Zimbabwe needs at least US$60 million a month for fuel. As of April, the
country owed fuel importers about US$2,5 million.
In the afternoon, long queues could be seen at most pick up points in the
central business district, with few Zupco buses on road failing to cope with
the situation.
On Wednesday, the Minister of Energy and Power development, Michael Nyambuya
told Parliament that the current fuel crisis was a result of foreign
currency shortages. He added that the doubling of oil prices on the
international market from US$27 to US$60 a barrel had exacerbated the
However, when asked by MDC Mutare North legislator, Giles Mutsekwa whether
the crisis would see an increase in fuel prices, Nyambuya only said: "That
issue is being addressed."
Black-market traders, wary of the police, have really gone underground and
are selling the commodity to people they trust, usually through fronts. They
are also keen to make quick sales to reduce the risk of being spotted by the
law enforcement agents.
The prices on the parallel market continue to rise as the commodity becomes
harder to find.
At many service stations, fuel attendants now while the time away sweeping
around their premises and basking in the sun.
Some motor vehicles have also remained parked at service stations for days,
as their owners keep on hoping that deliveries will be made.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Squabbles dominate ILO conference

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-27

SQUABBLES between the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), its
affiliates and government, stole the limelight at a three-week International
Labour Organisation (ILO) conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, which
ended last week.
Affiliates of the ZCTU, calling itself the Aggrieved Affiliates Workers
Unions (AWU), sought audience with government to bar the union's president
Lovemore Matombo and its secretary-general Wellington Chibebe from attending
the conference, arguing the current leadership was under investigation.
On the other hand, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
(ICFTU), a coalition of trade unions globally, fought to have members from
the affiliates challenging the leadership of Matombo to be barred from
attending the conference.
ICFTU argued the Zimbabwe government had interfered in the selection of
delegates for the Geneva conference.
As a result of the commotion in the Zimbabwe camp, the ILO set a committee
to look into the matter.
Documents in possession of The Daily Mirror, reveal that the committee heard
the objection submitted by the ICFTU alleging government's interference in
labour issues.
ICFTU alleged government unilaterally nominated Elias Mlotshwa and Edmund
Ruzive in direct contradiction of ZCTU's own proposal, as the latter had
chosen Chibebe and Matombo.
Mlotshwa later wrote to ILO on May 31 this year indicating he would not be
attending the conference, giving way for Chibebe and Matombo to represent
the ZCTU.
However, labour minister Nicholas Goche told the committee that the
government had not interfered with the internal selection process of the
In a letter to the representative of the ILO's secretary general credential
committee, Drazen Petrovic, Goche said: "Zimbabwe government played no role
in the choice of the worker delegate from ZCTU. Government proceeded in
accordance with Article 3(5) of the ILO constitution, which reads. "The
members undertake to nominate non government delegates and advisors chosen
in agreement with the industrial organisations
He said contrary to ZCTU assertions, Mlotshwa and Ruzive were nominated by
affiliates of the ZCTU as first and second choice respectively, not by
Goche added: "Mlotshwa is the 2nd Vice President whilst Ruzive is the 3rd
Vice President. Chibebe and Matombo were not elected at any general council
meeting to attend and the Zimbabwe Government puts them to the strict proof
thereof. Nor was any resolution to pardon them communicated to government."
The minister said the government invited Chibebe and Matombo to explain the
circumstances surrounding the stand-off at their union and their eligibility
to attend the 93rd session of the conference.
"Chibebe personally held a meeting with the Permanent Secretary in the
Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare,  where  he undertook,
among others, to furnish the permanent secretary with minutes of a General
Council meeting of the 23 April 2005 at which meeting it had been alleged
that the four officers had been suspended (Matombo, Chibebe, Lucia Mativenga
and Thabitha Khumalo)," Goche said.
He added that all this was with view to assist government in reaching an
informed decision.
Goche maintained Ruzive, who replaced Mlotshwa at the last minute, was the
legitimate representative from the ZCTU, and not Matombo.
Having heard both sides of the story, the committee passed its ruling.
 "The Committee notes that, in light of the information put at its disposal,
it is not in a
 position to verify allegations regarding internal conflicts within ZCTU.
"The committee, however, notes that the actions taken by government are
inconsistent with the principles of freedom of association and amount to
interference in the internal activities of a workers' organisation.
Consequently, the committee considers that the procedure for nominating the
workers' delegation did not fulfil the paragraph, of the ILO Constitution.
As the Committee has stressed in the past, government must accept the most
representative organisations' choice regarding the persons to be nominated
as the Workers' delegates.
"The committee urges the government to strictly adhere to its constitutional
obligations while nominating delegation for the next Conference."
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Tibaijuka to asses Zim's situation

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-27

THE executive director of the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements
(Habitat), Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, arrived in Harare yesterday to assess
the effects of Operations Restore Order and Murambatsvina, which have raised
a lot of local and international concern, especially over the displacement
of thousands of people in urban areas.
The Nairobi-based official came in the capacity of the UN secretary-general's
special envoy on Human Settlements in Zimbabwe.
Leading and eight-member delegation, including a humanitarian affairs
officer, Tibaijuka told Newsnet that apart from meeting President Robert
Mugabe, she would also meet other government officials with a view to
finding solutions to some of the country's problems.
President Mugabe last week welcomed the UN's visit, saying it would allow
the world body to appreciate the spirit behind the clean-up.
Tibaijuka's visit comes as three human rights organisations appealed to the
African Union (AU) and the UN to ensure that Zimbabwe stops its current
clean-up operation.
Amnesty International (AI), Centre of Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)
and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in joint statement this week,
said the UN and AU must take immediate and effective action to force
Zimbabwe to end "mass forced evictions and destruction of livelihoods" in
the country.
The organisations said the AU and UN should publicly condemn the alleged
"We urge all member states of the EU and UN to ensure that the relevant
bodies of the two organisations . call for the government of Zimbabwe to
ensure that all those who are currently homeless as a result of the mass
forced evictions have immediate access to emergency relief," the human
rights watchdogs said.
The organisations also urged the Zimbabwean government to respect the right
to an effective remedy for all victims, including access to justice and
appropriate reparations, which involve restitution, rehabilitation,
compensation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC activists acquitted

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-27

EIGHT MDC activists, who were facing allegations of contravening the Public
Order and Security Act by trying to coerce people to engage in a job mass
action, were last week acquitted by Harare magistrate Omega Mugumbate.
Victor Mpofu, Collet Dube, Thomas Forty, Oliver Chiza, Bigboy Nyamukuwa,
Nhamo Brown, Pension Gomo and Dave Sithole were acquitted at the end of the
state case after the defence applied for discharge, arguing there was no
prima facie case against them.
The State had alleged that on March 18 2003, the eight gathered at Hunters
Bar in Mabvuku, barring people from going to work in line with the MDC call
for a stayaway in protest of the high cost of living.
They allegedly threw stones at commuters heading for the city in a bid to
force them to heed the call by the MDC.
During the disturbances, the State alleged, a commuter omnibus was severely
In defence, the activists denied ever participating in the public violence,
but admitted that they were members of the MDC.
"They (accused persons) were arrested on suspicion that because the MDC had
called for a mass stayaway, they as active members, were responsible for
anything that happened in Mabvuku and Tafara," their lawyer, Alec
Muchadehama of Mbizo, Muchadehama and Makoni argued, in defence.
Lifa Dube represented the State.
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Zimbabwe lives 'won't be risked'
Clearances in Zimbabwe
Mugabe's housing clearances have been condemned globally
Zimbabwean refugees will not be returned to Robert Mugabe's regime if the government believes their lives are at risk, Hilary Benn has said.

Responding to calls for a policy re-think, the international development secretary said the Home Office was keeping the situation under review.

It comes as the secretary general of the Commonwealth urged the UK to "take care" deporting refugees to Zimbabwe.

There were 95 Zimbabweans removed from the UK in the first quarter of 2005.

A further 116 are scheduled to be returned to the country.

Hunger strikes

In the UK, 46 Zimbabweans being held in immigration centres remain on hunger strike after the ban on deportation to their homeland was lifted in November last year.

One hunger striker, Zimbabwean opposition leader Crispen Kulinji, was due to be deported on Saturday but secured a last-minute reprieve - with the help of Labour MP Kate Hoey.

We would never send anyone back if we thought their lives were in danger
Hilary Benn

Mr Kulinji, 32, from Harare, an organising secretary and election co-ordinator for the Movement for Democratic Change opposition movement, is recovering from injuries he claims he sustained in jail in Zimbabwe.

He said he had been on hunger strike since Wednesday, adding: "We would rather live, but it is better to have a dignified death here than go back to face Mugabe."

Housing demolished

Recent moves in Mugabe's Zimbabwe to demolish illegal buildings - which the UN says has left 275,000 people homeless - have drawn objections from the Foreign Office.

In light of the events, the Conservative and Lib Dem parties - as well as Labour MPs - have called for a re-think of government policy.

The Right Reverend Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester, has also called for a "compassionate" response from ministers.

"The current situation demands a compassionate response from our government and urgent reassessment of their policy in relation to the return of failed asylum seekers," he said.

But Mr Benn told BBC News: "We have given asylum to a very large number of Zimbabweans here in Britain, and rightly so, because we are proud of our commitment to the 1951 convention [UN Convention on Refugees].

It is clear by what you see on your television screens, hear on your radio, the problems are there
Don McKinnon

"But in the end the asylum system has to make a judgement in individual cases as to whether people are entitled to the protection of the convention or not.

"We would never send anyone back if we thought their lives were in danger.

"And the Home Office has made it very clear we are keeping the situation under close review and that is right and proper."

'Problems there'

However, Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon questioned whether failed asylum seekers should be returned to Zimbabwe.

"That is an issue which the British government has got to face," he said.

"But it is clear by what you see on your television screens, hear on your radio, the problems are there.

"And it should be looked at in the light of well, after all, you only deport people or send then back to their country if they are refugees if you believe they are not in danger or not threatened in any way."

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Zimbabwe after Mugabe
By Dr Eamonn Butler  Miscellaneous
Getting rid of bad leaders is easy. The difficult bit is clearing up the
mess afterwards. The Americans had a clear military plan to evict Saddam,
for example, but their understanding of how to fill the power vacuum in a
country with many conflicting religious and ethnic groups was obviously
rather less precise.

Now we are urging African leaders to get tough with Robert Mugabe. His
latest Marxist lunacies involve demolishing the homes of 200,000 people (in
Opposition areas, of course). Not just 'illegal' shanties, but solid houses
that have been there since it was Rhodesia, and whose owners' title deeds
seem perfectly valid.

The excuse is that these folk run a 'damaging' black economy. There's
Marxist logic for you: chuck out your best farmers, kill the rest of the
economy with controls, and then blame your shortages on poor people trying
to scrape an existence as best they can.

Quite how these displaced thousands will survive out on the plains without
water or sanitation is a good question. Maybe this is another case of
'indirect' genocide like that in Burma.

Western powers may have too much on their plates to think about unseating
the odious Mugabe. Before long, though, the grim reaper will do it for them.
If we and the neighbouring African nations, had any sense, we'd already be
laying down plans to help them restore order and assist the transition
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world net daily

American academia
rewarded Mugabe
Activists seek to strip brutal dicatator
of honorary degrees

Posted: June 26, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005

Zimbabwe ruler Robert Mugabe may be vilified by the civilized world as a
result of his campaign to demolish the homes of hundreds of thousands of his
country's poorest residents, but he is beloved among certain segments of
American academia.

The brutal dictator has received honorary degrees from the University of
Massachusetts and from Michigan State University, where a campaign is
underway to strip him of the doctorate of law degrees the institution
awarded him in 1990.

The campaigners say that at the time "Mugabe was known for killing his
opposition on a small scale, but since then his terror has gone to the next

"Minority black tribes, white farmers, democracy activists, newspaper
publishers - anybody who doesn't fit into Mugabe's plan for Zimbabwe - are
being killed or persecuted," the campaign's website notes.

"And MSU gave him an honorary degree to recognize his great contribution to
the legal field. Just what kind of laws is Mugabe known for?" Amnesty
International says Zimbabwe "is still using repressive legislation to
restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly of
all Zimbabweans, in particular political opponents, independent media
workers and human rights activists."

As WorldNetDaily reported, when Mugabe systematically burned out white
farmers and murdered them for their valuable land in the name of "wealth
redistribution," the international community paid little notice.

Now Mugabe has turned his deadly attention to the poor - driving hundreds of
thousands from their homes in what he euphemistically calls an "urban
renewal" program - or "Operation Drive Out Trash."

At news conferences in Africa and at the United Nations, more than 200
international human rights and civic groups said the campaign was "a grave
violation of international human rights law and a disturbing affront to
human dignity."

International rights groups said at least 300,000 people have lost their
homes by conservative estimates. The United Nations puts the figure as high
as 1.5 million, though Zimbabwe police only acknowledge about 120,000.

More than 42,000 people have also been arrested, fined or had their goods
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      Halt Zimbabwe deportations: Lib Dem

The Liberal Democrats have called for a halt of deportations to Zimbabwe as
a hunger strike by asylum seekers entered its fifth day.

Scores of Zimbabweans are on hunger strike in several UK immigration
detention centres in protest against the lifting of a ban which prevented
them being deported against their will.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Mark Oaten MP is writing to the Home
Secretary Charles Clarke calling for over 100 planned deportations to be

"In these dreadful circumstances, we should place all deportations to
Zimbabwe on hold," he said.

"The Mugabe regime is wholly unsafe and plainly has no respect for human

"The 116 people who are scheduled to be deported should have their cases
urgently reviewed and there should be no question of returning them at the
present time."

More than 15,000 Zimbabweans fled to Britain in the four years up to 2004,
though only a few hundred have been granted asylum.

A two-year ban on forced removals to the African country ended last November
and, during the first three months of 2005, 95 Zimbabweans were deported.

International Development Secretary Hilary Benn defended the Government's
position on BBC News 24's Sunday programme.

He said: "We have given asylum to a very large number of Zimbabweans here in
Britain, and rightly so, because we are proud of our commitment to the 1951
Convention (UN convention on refugees)."
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Report on Zim poll fails to make it out    Christelle Terreblanche
          June 26 2005 at 05:29PM

      As hundreds of non-government organisation spoke out against human
rights violations in Zimbabwe this week, parliament ended its session
without discussing its own report on Zimbabwe's March 31 elections.

      Three months have passed since South African MPs returned from their
observer mission and declared the election legitimate, fair and a credible
expression of voters' will.

      The mission was beset by dissent from opposition parties, but the ANC
endorsed a report on how they arrived at their conclusion, which is yet to
be tabled in parliament.

      The polls returned President Robert Mugabe to power with a two-thirds
majority and he is now waging a "clean-up campaign" called Operation
Murambatsvina, meaning "drive out trash", destroying houses and businesses
in urban areas in an effort to move people to the rural areas.

      International human rights groups this week estimated that 300 000 to
1,5 million people had lost their homes in the campaign.

      The South African government has so far continued its stance of "quiet
diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe, while calls from the opposition in parliament
for the majority report on the elections to be discussed, have come to

          .. This article was originally published on page 2 of Sunday
Argus on June 26, 2005

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Zimbabwe casts shadow over G8 Africa talks-C'wealth
Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:53 PM BST

LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's violent eviction of slum dwellers
could hamper efforts by the G8 group of industrialised nations to secure a
deal on tackling African poverty, the Commonwealth's Secretary-General said
on Sunday. A crackdown by President Robert Mugabe's government on shanty
towns and informal traders has left hundreds of thousands in Zimbabwe
homeless and drawn fierce criticism from the West.

But African leaders have not spoken out against Zimbabwe.

"If you're wanting to destroy a relationship between Africa and the G8,
what's happening now in Zimbabwe doesn't help African leaders who do want a
genuine engagement and genuine dialogue with G8 leaders," Don McKinnon told
BBC television.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair wants to persuade Group of Eight leaders
to raise aid, cancel debt and reduce trade barriers to help the world's
poorest continent at a summit next month in Gleneagles, Scotland.

The actions of Mugabe's government, repeatedly highlighted by human rights
groups, and the failure of African nations to condemn them, does little to
reassure Western leaders who want proof of good governance in Africa before
they fork out cash.

British International Development Minister Hilary Benn said he was
disappointed African leaders had kept quiet.

"I regret very much the fact that African leaders have not spoken out about
what is happening in Zimbabwe," Benn told BBC television.

"I hope they will because ... it's important that people speak out that
Zimbabwe does not represent everything that is happening in Africa," he
said, adding that good governance was "fundamental to Africa's future

The Commonwealth's McKinnon said a number of African leaders had privately
expressed concern about the situation in Zimbabwe.

The southern African state quit the Commonwealth in 2003 after the group of
mostly former British colonies agreed to continue its suspsension, first
imposed over accusations of vote-rigging in 2002.

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      Zimbabwe to consolidate relations with China 2005-06-26 22:55:57

          HARARE, June 26 (Xinhuanet) -- President Robert Mugabe said on
Sunday that Zimbabwe will continue to explore new areas of cooperation with
China as part of efforts to consolidate the strong ties that exist between
the two countries.

          "We have been allies, partners and excellent friends for a long
time starting from the days of our liberation struggle," Mugabe said when he
met with the visiting delegation from the Communist Party of China at State

          "The relationship was strengthened even much more after our
independence in 1980. Now we are looking at several socio-economicways and
dimensions in which we could further consolidate our relations in the
context of very strong areas of cooperation that we have built up for
ourselves. We should continue in that direction in future," said Mugabe.

          Leader of the CPC delegation Tan Jialin said after the meeting
with President Mugabe that there was room for further improvement of
relations between China and Zimbabwe.

          "We had a good discussion with President Mugabe," said Tan who is
the assistant minister in the International Department of the Central
Committee of the CPC.

          "We hope that in future we will continue to make great effortsto
develop bilateral relations. We also feel that the economic relations
between our two countries should be further promoted," he said.

          Tan said that the two countries need to exploit opportunities
existing in one another's country to derive mutual benefits.

          "Zimbabwe has good resources and abundant natural resources and
China has an advantage for development. The two peoples shouldget great
benefits from this cooperation and we have full confidence in this regard,"
he added.

          On Friday, the Chinese delegation met with National Chairman ofthe
ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front John Nkomo, Secretary
for Administration Didymus Mutasa and Deputy Secretary for External
Relations Stan Mudenge. Enditem

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Zimbabwe Urban "Cleanup" Drive Ending -State Newspaper

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)--President Robert Mugabe's government is winding up a
so-called urban renewal campaign that has destroyed the homes and
livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans, a state-run newspaper
reported Sunday, hours before the arrival of a U.N. envoy to investigate the

The Sunday Mail report was dismissed by a spokesman for the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, Paul Themba Nyathi, who said the destruction
of shanty towns continued unabated over the weekend in the southern border
town of Beitbridge.

Police have destroyed tens of thousands of shacks, street stalls and even
the vegetable gardens planted by the urban poor at a time of acute food
shortages, since launching the program dubbed Operation Murambatsvina, or
Drive Out Trash, on May 19. Estimates of the number affected range between
300,000 and 1.5 million.

Mugabe says the campaign is necessary to fight crime and maintain health
standards in Zimbabwe's cities. But the opposition, which has its
strongholds among the urban poor, says the blitz is intended to punish its
supporters who voted against the government in recent parliamentary

Mugabe told his party he had agreed to meet with an envoy sent by U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan "so as to enable (Annan) to understand and
appreciate what we are trying to do."

The head of U.N. Habitat, Anna Tibaijuka of Tanzania, was expected to arrive
Sunday afternoon at the head of a seven-member delegation to assess the
campaign's impact. No details have been released about her visit.

The government's campaign - in which 42,000 people have been arrested,
fined, or had their goods confiscated - has provoked an international

The independent Sunday Standard newspaper reported at least six people have
died. They include two children crushed under collapsing walls, two more
children and a woman who died of pneumonia after being left exposed to the
winter cold, and a man who committed suicide. Some 300,000 children have
been forced to quit school after they were driven from their homes, the
paper said.

The Sunday Mail, considered a government mouthpiece, reported that "the
cleanup exercise" is winding up and being replaced by a new campaign called
" Operation Garikai," or Let us be settled and live at peace.

Quoting unidentified government sources, the newspaper said the new program,
" aims to provide residential and business accommodation to deserving

"The new operation will be implemented with immediate effect and will see
the construction of new houses ... enterprise facilities and attendant
infrastructure in cities, towns, townships, growth points and resettlement
areas by August 30, 2005," the Sunday Mail reported.

Early Sunday, state radio called for qualified builders, carpenters and
plumbers to report to government offices for a massive reconstruction

Friday, Mugabe said 3 trillion Zimbabwe dollars ($325 million; EUR268
million) would be spent to build 1.2 million houses or building plots by

But economists said they doubted cash-strapped Zimbabwe - where inflation is
running near 150% and unemployment hovers around 80% - could afford the
rebuilding program.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires


  Copyright (c) 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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ABC, Australia

Zimbabwe sets up 'transit camp' for demolition victims
Zimbabwe police trucks are making daily trips to a farm outside Harare where
tents have been set up to house thousands of people who have lost their
homes in the five-week campaign to raze shacks and other unauthorised homes.

The transit camp at Caledonia Farm, some 25 kilometres east of Harare, was
set up by the government just over a month ago when Operation Murambatsvina,
which means "drive out the rubbish" and the linked "Operation Restore Order"
was launched.

Authorities say the demolitions of homes and razing of market stalls is
meant to rid the country of squalor and crime but human rights groups and
the opposition have denounced it as a campaign of repression.

Some 200,000 Zimbabweans have lost their homes in the blitz, the United
Nations said, but the opposition says the number is closer to 1.5 million.

Critics say the campaign is to punish urban voters who supported the
opposition in the March elections won by Mr Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party
and to drive Zimbabweans back to the countryside.

More than 400 families or about 2,000 people are living at Caledonia farm,
but the number keeps soaring daily as newly displaced are brought in by
police trucks.

A women waves her hand to attract the attention of newly-arrived Zimbabweans
who were offloading their furniture - beds, dressers, stoves, to fit into
them into little tents, some measuring just about six square metres.

"Welcome, welcome, you will love this place, just see how well some of us
look now," she sarcastically shouts to a group of men, women and children
driving into the sprawling farm.

The displaced Zimbabweans at Caledonia farm are supposed to be held there
temporarily, until their return to their rural home can be arranged or to
their new homes that authorities say are already under construction.

But it appears that few want to go back to the countryside while others have
nowhere to go as they originally came from neighbouring Malawi and
Mozambique as immigrant workers in the 60s and 70s before becoming permanent
residents in Zimbabwe.

A resident of the farm recounted that at a recent meeting, authorities asked
how many wanted to return to their rural areas so transport could be
organised for them and only one woman raised her hand.

Stretching over several acres, the displaced are housed in makeshift tents
of black plastic and green canvas.

Water tankers bearing the logo of the UN children's agency UNICEF and
portable toilets, some with Red Cross signs have been erected around the
dusty space and a makeshift clinic has also been set up there by government.

School-age children playing in open dusty spaces are pushed to one side to
allow for the latest arrivals to settle in.

"How do you expect me to be at school when I have been hit by a 'tsunami'
like this? asked a 10-year-old boy who said his family was displaced from a
working class suburb of Harare a few days ago.


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New Zealand Herald

      Boycott plea wins favour overseas


      By Bernard Orsman, Juliet Rowan and Helen Tunnah

      Britain and Australia have signalled they may support a New Zealand
plan to ask the International Cricket Council to boycott Zimbabwe.

      Foreign Minister Phil Goff said yesterday that he had spoken to
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Australian Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer and both had expressed interest in adding their voice to
the ICC request.

      Mr Goff said the two ministers felt it was important that steps were
taken to emphasise to the ICC world opposition to Robert Mugabe's repressive
regime, but both said they wanted to talk to their cricket councils before
taking the idea further.

      Mr Goff said he would meet Mr Downer in Australia next weekend for
bilateral talks, during which they would discuss a possible tripartite
approach to the ICC.

      Mr Straw had told Mr Goff he was interested in a joint approach.

      NZ Cricket chief executive Martin Snedden is in London for a meeting
of the ICC, which says the Black Caps must fulfil their contractual
obligation to tour Zimbabwe in August or pay millions of dollars in fines.

      Zimbabwe's cricketers are supposed to tour here in December, but Mr
Goff wants the team banned and has said the Government is likely to deny
them entry.

      Mr Snedden is not commenting on the probable ban until he returns to
New Zealand early next month, but is expected to be under intense pressure
to raise the issue of Zimbabwe at the ICC meeting.

      Mr Goff hoped ICC members would recognise that the body could not turn
a blind eye to fundamental human rights abuses, and would be flexible over
the Black Caps.

      He said Mr Mugabe's forced removal of 200,000 people from their homes
was reminiscent of Cambodian dictator Pol Pot.

      The Green Party applauded Mr Goff's latest efforts to stop the Black
Caps going to Zimbabwe, but said they came too late.

      Co-leader Rod Donald said the Government had ignored a call by the
Greens in April to stop the tour.
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