|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
HARARE – Armed police yesterday demolished the sprawling Porta Farm squatter camp near Harare leaving more than 1 000 families homeless as United Nations envoy Anna Tibaijuka met President Robert Mugabe in the capital just 20km away.
Tibaijuka is in Zimbabwe to assess the impact of the mass evictions of poor families under Mugabe’s controversial urban clean-up drive that has attracted a chorus of condemnation from the UN, European Union, United States, Zimbabwean and international human rights groups.
Human rights lawyers were by last night still frantically trying to file an urgent application in court to bar the police from removing residents from Porta Farm where they were dumped 15 years ago by the government after another clean-up campaign carried out around Harare ahead of the 1991 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
"We are filing an urgent application to stop the evictions," the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ Rangu Nyamurundira told ZimOnline.
More than 1 050 primary school children and 400 high school students who attend school at the camp will have to drop out if evicted with their families.
Earlier in the day, Tibaijuka told journalists after her meeting with Mugabe that she had had a “good discussion” with the Zimbabwean leader, who insists the clean-up campaign that has made close to a million people homeless is vital to restore the beauty of Zimbabwe’s cities and to smash an illegal black market for basic goods and foreign currency in short supply in the country.
Mugabe speaking separately to journalists, said he had told Tibaijuka that his government had exercised restraint postponing the clean-up operation until after Zimbabwe’s general election last March because the government did not want to appear to be destabilising the opposition’s urban support base.
The President said he had also told the UN envoy that his cash-strapped government would somehow find resources for a US$300 million programme to build houses for evicted families between now and 2010. Mugabe said Tibaijuka had been “quite receptive” to his explanations.
As Tibaijuka headed for Harare’s Mbare suburb straight after talks with Mugabe to go and inspect huge informal market and industry sites there razed down by the police in the past four weeks, police were burning down Porta farm and bundling families into trucks for relocation to an overcrowded holding camp at Caledonia Farm, east of the capital.
"We have been given until 6pm to move out or risk our belongings being burnt together with our houses," said a distraught Jonas Matereke, who has lived at Porta Farm since 1991.
He added: "We have been told that we will be transported to Caledonia Farm. We fear a disease outbreak at that ‘Keep’.”
Keep refers to the notorious protected villages (camps) set up by Zimbabwe’s former white supremacist rulers across the country at the height of Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war. Villagers would be forced to stay in the camps in a bid to stop them from supplying the liberation guerrillas with food.
The evicted families, most of whom said they had no alternative homes to go to because they were third generation Zimbabweans whose parents originally came from Malawi or Zambia, said police had told them to take their basic belongings only.
"They told us when we get to Caledonia Farm we will have to leave our furniture at the gate before entering the camp. We are not allowed to take any electrical goods such as televisions into the camp. They said the television sets would be auctioned to raise money to feed us there," said Ashton Shumba a human rights activist at the settlement.
Meanwhile, the police were also frantically battling to decongest Caledonia Farm where more than 4 000 people have since May been living without clean water or toilets until non-governmental organisations (NGOs) stepped in to provide these about two weeks ago.
Initially the government had prevented the NGOs from helping the families at Caledonia saying it would take care of the situation itself.
More than 200 families had by Wednesday been moved out of Caledonia with some taken to Sally Mugabe Heights, a settlement along the highway to Domboshava rural business centre north-east of Harare. Other families were moved to Seke communal lands south-east of Harare.
Some NGO officials suggested that the removal of people from Caledonia was meant to hoodwink Tibaijuka by ensuring that when she finally visits the camp, it will not be as congested as is the case now.
But Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche rejected the claims saying people were being removed from the camp because it was only a transit settlement. He said: “It must be understood that it is a transit camp. We are not providing them (evicted families) with permanent homes there.” - ZimOnline
It's just not cricket!
Hi to all fellow people who care about
As we all know,
We feel that because of the dire state of affairs in Zimbabwe, because of the forced eviction of 300 000 innocent people from their homes - people who will probably perish because of a lack of the basic necessities of life like food, shelter and safety, this is n o time to play cricket.
We urge you to put pressure on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to have
Also please go to http://www.saynotozimtour.com and sign the petition to be submitted to the New Zealand Government. The “What you can do” page on that site has suggested actions you can take today to voice your opposition to the cricketers representing
Here are some facts you may want to consider when writing your email to the ICC - as of
's cricketers remain certain they will be touring trouble-plagued New Zealand in August... Zimbabwe
· Mugabe is the patron of Zimbabwean cricket.
· Since the May 19, “Operation Murambatsvina” police have torched and bulldozed tens of thousands [of houses], street stalls and -- amid acute food shortages -- vegetable gardens planted by the urban [people].
· As many as 4,000 Zimbabweans are dying every week from starvation and AIDS.
· The country requires 1.2 million tonnes in food aid or four million people out of a population of about 12 million will starve.
· Life expectancy is 33 years.
· Food supplies for some towns have been stolen by army soldiers.
· Food production has fallen by about 60 percent since the farm seizures five years ago.
· The World Health Organisation (WHO) has received an urgent call for help to fight a cholera outbreak ravaging its eastern Nyanga district.
· The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) is alleging rampant physical and verbal abuse of prisoners by prison wardens and fellow inmates in
's prisons. Zimbabwe
· 200 international human rights organisations made a public statement stating that African leaders should address the increasing spate of human rights abuses, infringements and violations urgently and promptly at the forthcoming AU Assembly in
· Independent estimates of the number affected [by this forced demolition of houses and removal of people from their homes] range from 300,000 to 1.5 million. Police acknowledge 120,000.
government made an announcement of a "national housing scheme" in which an unbudgeted three trillion Zimbabwean dollars (£170 million) would be allocated to build two million houses in the next five years!! Zimbabwe
· The ICC had their annual meeting yesterday
28 June 2005and did not discuss the situations in . Zimbabwe
Please don’t allow
to become another statistic. Respect those who have died on Zimbabwean soil. Help those who struggle daily to live a life in Zimbabwe Africa. Help save the people of – stop the tour. Zimbabwe
Your participation will make a difference.
Please send this email onto any others who can support this cause.
Thank you for caring.
References / cited in: