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

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My Dearest Children
I know you don't want to hear the bad things that are happening here because it makes you worry about us, but it is really awful feeling that I cant tell you because you don't want to know.  But  we are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next........I mean they are actually plowing down brick and mortar houses and one white family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when 100 riot police came in with AK's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house - 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings - because it was "too close to the airport" we are feeling extremely insecure right now.   You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you do not know - how can you help?   Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help - but I feel so cut off from you all knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable.    There is no ways we can leave so that is not an option.  I just ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes..that's all.   You can't just be in denial and pretend its not going on.   To be frank with you, its genocide in the making and if you do not believe me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are IN level seven (level 8 is after its happened and everyone is in denial).  If you don't want me to tell you these things then it means you have not dealt with your own fear, but it does not help me to think you are turning your back on our situation.  We need you to get the news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here.   Too many people turn their backs and say - oh well, that's what happens in Africa.   This government has GONE MAD and you need to publicize our plight or how can we be rescued?
You cant just say "oh you attract your own reality".   The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food water, shelter and bedding are a reality.  Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside.   We already support 8 people and a child on this property and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water.   How can I take another family of 4 - and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open?   So I am not asking you for money, or a ticket out of here - I am asking you to FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and I want you to pass on our news and pictures and don't just press the delete button for God's sake.   Help in the way that you know how.   Face the reality of what is going on here and SEND OUT THE WORD.  The more people that know about it, the more chance we have of United Nations coming to our aid.   Please stop ignoring and denying what's happening.    Would you like to be protected from the truth and then if we are eliminated how would you feel?   Surely you would say "if only we knew how bad it realy was we could have helped in some way".  I know we chose to stay here and so we "deserve" what's coming to us.  For now we ourselves, have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal - but what is going to happen next?   Will they start on our houses?   All property is going to belong to the State now.   I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those I can't fight for my rights.   We no longer have SW radio which told us everything that was happening because the government jammed it out of existence - we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph.  If we had reporters here they would have an absolute field day.  Even the pro government Herald has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of everyone's homes which are supposed to be "illegal" but which a huge percentage of them actually do have licenses for.  Please my children - have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and personal reports so that something can be DONE.
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All History is Linear.

In the Bible, God says of Himself "I am the alpha and the omega!" This
simple statement carries with it such profound implications that we could
spend a lifetime working through them. But in it God is saying - I was at
the beginning of life and I will be at the end of life. History is linear;
it has a beginning and an end.

This means that the world and the universe as we know it had a beginning and
its life is finite - there will be an end to its existence. The same
principle applies to our own lives - we are born and we die, no exceptions.
Governments rise up and they fade away, nothing lasts forever.

We do not choose the circumstances or the period on the line into which we
are born and raised but we have to manage the consequences. Some are
fortunate and go through life with little to disturb their equilibrium.
Others go through the holocaust. Such things do not seem to have any reason
or purpose, they just happen and what makes the difference is how we handle
the situations we each find ourselves in.

Jesus said "In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I
have overcome the world." This is a clear statement that life for all of us
is not going to be a bed of roses. On the contrary, we will all face real
problems throughout our lives and must accept these as part of life.

It means we have a certain life to live and our choices make a difference -
to us as individuals and to those around us and in our community. We are
faced with circumstances and also influence those same circumstances. We may
not be able to choose when or where we must live out our lives, but we can
all choose how we live while we are on our own historical line through time.

I was born in a time in my own country where we saw the end of white settler
control over government and the start of majority, democratic rule. It was
not a good time to be white and in Africa. We had not behaved well when in
power; we had discriminated against the black majority and suppressed
freedoms that were taken as universal rights in the rest of the world. Then
we faced a period of discrimination designed to redress the imbalances we
had created. We were not accepted as citizens with full rights, we even
found ourselves being deprived of what we had built up over the previous
half century.

At the same time we had been in Africa for over a century, we had no other
home and knew no other life. We loved our country and were at home among its
peoples. When we traveled abroad it only confirmed what we already
suspected - we were not Europeans, we were Africans!

But we are on our life line - we had no choice as to where that life line
started, but we could shape the life that we lived when on the line. We
chose - both my wife and I and our two children, to stay in Zimbabwe and to
help put this new nation on a track to success and to make a life for us as
a family here.

It has not been easy - there have been highs and lows and right now we face
the most difficult period that any of us can remember. More difficult than
in the civil war, more difficult than when UN sanctions were imposed, more
unsettled for everyone, but especially for those who have no alternative
places to live. It is not going to get any easier and we must again make
choices, to stay; to flee; to fight, to coexist.

For those of us who choose the hard road, we can draw comfort that there
will come an end to this evil regime that has made such a mess of things.
That is the way of life, of history - life is linear. For those responsible
for this awful mess, life must be a nightmare - like being tied to a
stinking corpse and unable to let go or get rid of this terrible burden. For
those responsible for killings and murder and even worse, they must live
with the ghosts of their past, unable to leave them behind; they will follow
them to their own graves and deny them peace.

But what of those of us who stay with the tough road we are on? How do we
survive, live our lives to the fullness of what is on offer? I have found
that in every thing that happens to me there is a path of hope and faith,
which constantly surprises. In the darkest times there is light and that
light banishes the darkness, in fact the darkness flees from this light. In
times of need, something always happens to ensure we find that all our needs
are satisfied.

But more than that - life does not consist of what we eat or we wear, or in
what sort of house we live. It is much more based on what we do with our
lives and the contribution we make to the lives of those who live with us.
We live rich, interesting lives that face daily challenges to our initiative
and ingenuity. We are surrounded by life - relationships that keep on
growing. The acceptance and recognition of others and the fantastic
experience of life in such a country with its beauty and variety.

The night skies alive with stars, the warm yellow autumn moon, the cool
mornings heavy with dew and birdsong. The blazing evening skies and the vast
spaces of bush in every color and shape. The great rivers and lakes, the
splash of tiger and bream and the sullen stare of a lion in the shade.

The fight for basic human and political rights, which others take for
granted, and which are now denied to us as a people. The struggle for
freedoms that others in developed countries no longer even think about and
take for granted. The constant battle to keep our businesses afloat and to
somehow stay on top of rising costs and falling currency values. Our lives
are so rich its sinful and I feel sorry for those who do not have these
challenges to meet every day.

Life is linear but that does not mean we are not called to live life out in
all its fullness and potential. Only in struggle do we write great music and
recognize beauty. I am sorry for Mugabe and his collection of goons because
they have missed all this and worse - they now have to live with the
consequences of their actions. Am I doubtful about the final outcome?
Never - I have read the Book - in the end we win!

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 5th June 2005
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URGENT MEDIA RELEASE                                           


4 June 2005 






Invaders are terrorising Zimbabwean farm workers on an arid Mwenezi cattle and wildlife ranch in Masvingo province, putting at risk more than 2 500 valuable beef cattle and threatening the survival of the only wildlife herds left in the area.


A group of nine hired thugs led by Mr Muzorori, who works as a right-hand man for the local member of parliament, drove onto the ranch in a National Housing and Public Construction vehicle and ordered workers from two of the cattle stations out of their homes.


After they had been rounded up and forced to flee into the bush, the thugs moved on to the safari camp where staff members were threatened and forced to leave.


  The safari camp staff is now holed up at the main house with South African born farm owner Brian Cawood, who Muzorori is trying to force off his ranch. 


Contact has been lost with the workers and it is impossible to ascertain if any have been injured or killed.


Cawood’s award-winning cattle herd represents a third of the last genetic breeding stock of beef cattle in the country.  It comprises pedigree Brahmans, Herefords and valuable crossbred Brahfords.


The country’s commercial beef herd has been reduced from some 2 500 000 at its peak to an estimated 150 000 as a result of the chaotic and violent land invasions and the wholesale slaughter of animals.


Prior to the land invasions, the Mwenezi area earned valuable foreign currency from the game ranches that had been built up with dedication and at great expense over many years.


The district is experiencing a serious drought and Cawood, who is one of the few farmers left, is keeping water troughs full for the approximately 1 200 eland, 800 giraffe and 600 zebra which rely on him for their survival.


The ranch has no surface water and exists solely on boreholes up to 150 metres deep which pump water from the ancient Karoo sands system in the sub base.  Over 40km of pipelines reticulate the water to stations throughout the ranch.


In 2001 the ranch was invaded and, within a few months it had been turned into a desert by the settlers who had no knowledge of farming and no technical skills.   


Eventually they moved off and Cawood worked around the clock with his team of 75 farm workers to re-erect fences and rehabilitate the entire ranch.


Speaking from his farmhouse, which is surrounded by a security fence and located on a hilltop with no escape route, Cawood expressed deep concern for his farm workers who have been forced to abandon their homes and scatter without food or warm clothing.


“These men are peaceful and kind,” he said, “good cattle men are not aggressive.  They do not deserve to be constantly threatened and terrorised by thugs.”


Although the police in charge of the province have made it clear that the ongoing violence and attacks are unacceptable, Cawood said that the local police are too terrified to respond effectively.


“Right now thugs operating as feudal warlords are running the country and it appears that senior Zanu-PF ministers have lost communication and control,” said Cawood. 


After President Mugabe lost the referendum to change the constitution in February 2000, he used thugs and so-called “war veterans” to create the necessary political climate to destabilise the country and overrun the commercial farms. 


“Today chaos rules,” said Cawood.  “The brutal, inhumane treatment of thousands of shack dwellers and informal traders who have had their homes and livelihoods destroyed demonstrates the extent of the violence and carnage.”


Cawood’s parents left South Africa for Zimbabwe in 1960 because of their opposition to apartheid. Despite their commitment and contribution to the Zimbabwe, they have been wiped out and are now virtual prisoners in their home. 


In 1987 Cawood himself decided to invest in Zimbabwe and received the approval of the Zimbabwean Reserve Bank to set up a farming operation.


A qualified civil engineer, Cawood is known for the assistance he has provided to the entire farming area and his significant contribution to the cattle industry. 


It does not make sense for Cawood to be forced out of the community at a time when the country needs his expertise and the government has announced efforts to bring back specialised commercial farmers to resuscitate the wrecked agricultural sector.


“We have hung on all this time hoping that sanity will prevail and that we can begin to rebuild the country and feed our starving people,” Cawood said.




For further information:


Brian Cawood

Mwenezi area, Zimbabwe

Tel:  +263 14 470 or 574


Mike Clark

Mwenezi area, Zimbabwe

Tel:  +263 14 244



Forwarded by:


Mrs Glyn Hunter

Tel:  +27 31 572 2668

Cell: +27 82 774 2284





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Sent: Saturday, June 04, 2005 6:17 PM
Subject: So few are left

Dear Family and Friends,
For the last five years the Zimbabwe government have insisted that there
has not been a breakdown of law and order in the country. As the critics
talked of anarchy, a partisan police force and widespread lawlessness, the
government repeatedly disputed the claims saying they were all lies,
damned racist, colonialist lies.  It is ironic that now, as Zimbabwe's
horizons are obscured by the smoke from a thousand fires, the police and
government say they are simply "restoring order" to Zimbabwe. Hello, did I
miss something here?

All everyone can think about and talk about is the massive destruction,
the smoke that fills our skies and the multitudes of people who have been
affected.  There continue to be TV pictures of bulldozers knocking down
brick houses. There are heart breaking, eye witness reports of families
sitting in the filth, dust and rubble of what used to be their homes.
All week there have been people desperately trying to save what they can
of their lives. People carrying planks, boards, sheets of tin, bundles of
plastic - the things that were their homes. Everywhere people are
desperately looking for somewhere to sleep, somewhere out of the cold to
shelter, somewhere to store their belongings. The police tell them to go
back where they came from, to go back to the rural areas. It is ironic
that these are the same rural areas that the government said were so
overcrowded five years ago that the congestion was used to explain the
seizure of 95% of the country's commercial farms.

I remember writing a letter like this about two years ago when I described
newly evicted commercial farmers driving around in lorries filled with
their furniture, desperately looking for somewhere to stay. Then it was
self employed white commercial farmers whose lives, homes and jobs were
being destroyed, now it is self employed black family traders.

First they came for the farmers
Then they came for the judges
Then they came for the opposition
Then they came for the media
Then they came for the traders
Next ???
So few are left. Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle
4th June 2005
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Sunday Times (UK)

            June 05, 2005

            Mugabe's regime lays waste to buildings in new terror tactic
            By a Special Correspondent, Harare

            UNTIL a few days ago, Mbare on the outskirts of Harare was
Zimbabwe's largest market, recommended in guidebooks for a lively afternoon
visit, and also one of the capital's oldest townships. Yesterday, along with
much of the country, it looked like a place flattened by war.
            Street after street had been turned into a battleground of
twisted wreckage, torn wood and piles of broken bricks. Sirens wailed and
plumes of smoke rose from the smouldering ground, in the midst of which
stood the occasional wardrobe or iron bed-frame, all that remained of family

            A few figures picked among the debris like vultures, while
others huddled in small dazed groups at the sides. Every so often, one of
Zimbabwe's new Chinese warplanes roared across the sky. All along the main
road to the bus station were lines of people with their remaining belongings
bundled on their heads, like refugees escaping from battle.

            The perpetrator was not some enemy invader or even a rival
ethnic group, but the embattled citizens' own government.

            Robert Mugabe's authoritarian regime has chosen to consolidate
its recent election victory by bulldozing homes and demolishing markets,
leaving vast swathes of the capital and other cities in ruins and creating
hundreds of thousands of refugees with neither shelter nor livelihood.
Locals are calling it the Zimbabwean tsunami.

            "This is Pol Pot style depopulation of cities," said David
Coltart, legal affairs spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). "It's a sinister pre- emptive strike designed to remove the
maximum possible number of people from urban areas to rural areas where they
are easier to control."

            Operation Murambatsvina or "Clean Up the Filth" began with no
warning two weeks ago when trucks of police and youth militia clad in brand
new riot-protection gear arrived at Hatcliff, a shanty town. Stunned
residents were ordered to leave and go back to the rural areas from which
they came, as police began smashing their dwellings and a large local

            Others swept through the centre of Harare, rounding up the many
thousands of traders who survive by selling everything from chewing gum to
second-hand clothes and even the colourful women flower sellers who have
operated in Africa Unity Square for decades. Flowers and wooden curios were
thrown onto bonfires as their owners watched in disbelief.

            It was the start of what has since become a nationwide scorched
earth campaign. In cities from Mutare in the east to Bulawayo in the south,
police have torched homes, demolished market stalls, detaining more than
20,000 traders, and bulldozed shanty towns.

            Even the woodcarvers at the tourist resort of Victoria Falls
were attacked, their stalls smashed and hundreds of carved hippos and
giraffes thrown on fires. The MDC estimate that more than 1m people have
been left homeless and left sleeping in the open in winter temperatures
dropping to near freezing.

            The opposition believe it is no coincidence that the targets
have been the cities which voted overwhelmingly against Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF party in the March 31 elections.

            "It's retribution against those who voted MDC," said Nelson
Chamisa, National Youth Chairman for the MDC and an MP whose own
constituency in Harare is one of the most affected areas.

            One MDC member said he believed that the government had
intelligence that they had been holding meetings of grassroots cells looking
at organising an popular uprising - modelled on the successful "Orange
revolution" in Ukraine late last year that brought a pro-western government
to power. A police spokesman described the action as designed "to wipe out
pockets of resistance".

            The government claims the centre of Harare had become unsightly
and that the campaign is aimed at shutting down black market operators whom
they accused of trading scarce commodities such as sugar and the staple
mealie meal, and illegal foreign exchange transactions. Every day last week
anonymous letters were printed in the state-owned Zimbabwe Herald newspaper
supporting the clean-up campaign as "long overdue".

            Another suggestion was that the vendors had been cleared out to
make way for Chinese traders. China has become Mugabe's new best friend,
supplying commercial and military planes and sending in advisers.

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Washington Post

Zimbabwe Police Raze Poor Towns In Rampage
Government Says Homes Being Destroyed Are Illegal

By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, June 5, 2005; Page A23

HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 4 -- Six days after teams of police officers ordered
the residents of Hatcliffe Extension, a squatter village, to tear down their
homes, the destruction still looks startlingly fresh, the former tenants
dazed and weary.

Where houses once stood are piles of plastic sheeting and splinters of
lumber. Shops built of concrete have been reduced to rubble. A Catholic
day-care center for AIDS orphans has been destroyed. And the residents, worn
out after days of living among the ruins and nights spent outside in the
cold, sit mournfully among the shattered remnants of their lives.

"I have no options. I have nowhere to go," said Catherine Tangara, 58, a
round-faced widow who cares for her four grandchildren because both of her
daughters have died.

The story is the same in urban areas throughout Zimbabwe, an economically
and politically troubled southern African country of 12 million. Thousands
of police officers have spent the past two weeks on a rampage of destruction
that officials call a campaign to clean up illegal housing and markets.

At least 22,000 street traders have been arrested, police said in
government-owned newspapers, and tens of thousands of people have been left
homeless. Though the full extent of the operation remains unknown,
opposition leaders say as many as 1.5 million people in Harare alone may
have lost their homes.

President Robert Mugabe has dubbed the campaign "Operation Murambatsvina,"
which the state-owned press translates as "Operation Restore Order" and
portrays as a necessary effort to curb crime, garbage and the other excesses
of rapid urbanization over the past several years. But in Shona, the
dominant language in Zimbabwe, it has a more sinister translation, given
that most of those targeted are poor: "Operation Drive Out the Rubbish."

In Hatfield Extension, more than 6,000 people lost their homes on police
order last Sunday. No houses or shops remain standing, and a community
mosque was destroyed.

"They said, 'If you refuse, we will whip you,' " said a 38-year-old widow
who cares for her two children and her elderly mother on a modest income
earned from sewing dresses and bedspreads. "Now everything is destroyed."

In neighborhood after neighborhood, truckloads of police officers have
arrived in riot helmets and demanded that residents tear down their own
homes, typically wood shacks or one-room concrete houses that shelter
Zimbabwe's urban poor. Most people have complied with the police, attacking
their homes with their bare hands or with picks and hammers that made the
job quicker, if no less terrible.

Traders, meanwhile, have turned their own wooden stalls into kindling. In
targeted areas across Harare, people can be seen sitting on piles of rubble,
staring into space.

Many of the victims have already moved away from the urban areas, jamming
their families and remaining possessions onto buses and returning to the
rural areas where they grew up. Others have tried to make do where they are.
Tangara, for instance, spent Sunday breaking her wood-and-cardboard home
into pieces. Then she built a thigh-high shelter that is open on one side so
that she and the children can crawl inside among some dirty pillows and worn

"It's so painful," Tangara said as one of the children stood wide-eyed
beside her, "and so chilly."

Several miles away, in the southern Harare community of Mbare, a 48-year-old
carpenter, who like many interviewed for this story declined to reveal his
full name because of fears of retribution, said a police officer swung a
sledgehammer into his work shed, then barked out orders that the 12 concrete
rental units on his property be demolished as well.

In the same community, a 22-year-old trader said he tore down his wooden
stall on Sunday only to be forced to demolish his modest home two days
later. He said he planned to move to a family home in a rural area nearly
200 miles away.

"We're just starving," he said. "We've got nothing to do."

Opposition leaders have argued that Mugabe's motivation is political and
point out that resistance to the government runs strongest in cities. Some
also suggest that the campaign is a preemptive action against unrest.

"It's to stop people in the urban areas from organizing themselves for a
revolution," said Trudy Stevenson, an opposition lawmaker whose district
includes Hatcliffe Extension.

Since the March 31 parliamentary elections, in which Mugabe won a landslide
victory in voting that many Western governments denounced as rigged, the
currency has plunged and basic commodities such as sugar, flour and cornmeal
have disappeared from store shelves. Gas shortages are so severe that
motorists line up for blocks simply on rumors of deliveries at filling

But Mugabe's party traditionally has found support in Hatcliffe Extension
and some of the other areas razed in the past two weeks, a fact that some
people say is an indication that the government campaign is less about
punishing opponents than reversing years of urbanization.

Zimbabweans in recent years have increasingly abandoned farming in rural
areas to work as street traders in cities and live in shantytowns and other
informal settlements.

A farmer outside of Harare, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he saw
a chilling logic in the crackdown.

Since 2000, when Mugabe began a campaign of often-violent seizures of
commercial farmland, Zimbabwe has experienced recurrent shortages of food
and foreign currency.

The farmer's land was among the properties invaded. Squatters built about
2,000 homes on the land, but several days ago, the government bulldozed most
of them. The farmer said he was appalled by the tactics, which left many
families with small children homeless, but was glad to get his land back. He
intends to begin planting in the cleared area in October.

"I think somebody realized you need order," the farmer said. "We're going
back actually to big-time farming."

Whatever Mugabe's motives, the cost has been high for William Mutyasira, his
wife and their four children. Police struck their community of Mbare on
Tuesday. Mutyasira arrived home from his job at a local shop to find his
home demolished.

All their possessions -- chairs, a battered radio, a small kitchen table -- 
are now piled in a yard cluttered with concrete rubble.

"This is now our kitchen unit," Mutyasira joked grimly as he pointed to a
bucket containing cooking oil, instant coffee and a dried corncob.

Soon, he said, he will take his family and their possessions back to their
traditional, rural community. But eventually, Mutyasira said he planned to
return to Harare and start over.
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The Guardian

Zimbabwean Government Continues Blitz

Sunday June 5, 2005 12:46 AM


Associated Press Writer

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - The Zimbabwean government kept up its blitz on shack
dwellers and street traders despite reports on Saturday that President
Robert Mugabe had ordered a halt to the two-week crackdown.

In the northwestern town of Chinhoyi, police arrested 708 vendors and seized
scarce staples including sugar, cornmeal and cooking oil, said state radio.
They also arrested 621 gold prospectors, a source of income for many

More than 30,000 people have been detained and a further 200,000 have lost
their homes since the start of the crackdown on May 19, U.N. housing expert
Miloon Kothari said in Geneva on Friday. He urged the government to halt its
campaign of mass evictions, calling it a clear violation of human rights.

``The vast majority are homeless in the streets,'' Kothari said. ``This kind
of a mass eviction drive is a classic case where the intention appears to be
that Harare become a city for the rich, for the middle class, for those that
are well-off ... and the poor are to be pushed away.''

Zimbabwe was plunged into political and economic turmoil when Mugabe's
government began seizing thousands of white-owned commercial farms for
redistribution to blacks in 2000. Combined with years of drought, the
often-violent land reform program has crippled agriculture - the country's
economic base.

Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk 50 percent during the past five years, and the
unemployment rate is at least 70 percent. Agriculture - the country's
economic base - has collapsed, and at least 70 percent of the population
lives in poverty.

On Saturday, police were deploying forces to suppress possible protests.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told state radio that they would ``deal
with political parties and other non-governmental organizations who are
trying to take advantage of the 'clean up campaign' to gain political

Leslie Gwindi, spokesman for the government-appointed Harare City Council,
said the next phase in the capital would see homeowners heavily fined for
not ``sprucing up'' and repainting their properties although most say that
in current economic crisis conditions they cannot afford it. Cement and
paint are only available on the black market.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
alleges urban poor are being punished for supporting his party during recent
general elections. The government has denied the accusations.

Amnesty International has also condemned the crackdown, saying it has left
whole communities without shelter and destroyed thousands of livelihoods.

Kothari, the U.N. envoy on the right to adequate housing, said that if the
current eviction drive continued, 2 million to 3 million people could be
affected - about one quarter of Zimbabwe's population.

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From another subscriber:

Someone I met yesterday counted forty vehicles [moving out].
and gave up after that. There were many more. She also said that she had
seen Chinese 'military advisors' riding around her suburb about two weeks
ago in green Zimbabwe military Peugeots. Most of our senior military people
were trained in Communist China in
the 1960s and 70s. The person responsible for the genocide in Matabeleland
in the mid 1980s is now in overall control of defence. The people whose
homes have already been destroyed have been told to return to their rural
areas and grow food. However, they have been living in the cities for
twenty, thirty years or more. Apparently the chiefs have refused them entry
to their home areas. What do they do now?

I was talking to another young woman on Thursday. Her maid and gardener have
both had their houses demolished and have nowhere to go. These are people
who had been allocated land by the ruling party several years ago and had
saved hard - and
received considerable assistance from their employer - to build substantial
brick homes. Another person's maid had moved all her furniture to her
employer's premises before the destruction of her home. But where are these
people supposed to sleep? There is no shelter. It is winter and the
nocturnal temperature outside is about 0 degrees Celsius. It is our dry
season, so there are no clouds to keep in the warmth. The stars shine icily
over the scene. What about hygiene facilities? There aren't any. Drinking
water? Likewise. My next door neighbour's maid has twelve people trying to
sleep in her room.

Someone told me yesterday that they saw Mike Davies, chairman of the
Combined Harare Residents Association, standing outside a supermarket with a
trolley, collecting donations for those who have been rendered destitute by
the destruction of their homes. So much for whites hating and oppressing

As I write, noon on Saturday 4 June, 2005, the jets are audible overhead. I
wonder who is being terrorised now. I have to drive home shortly and I'm not
sure what I will meet on the roads. Please pray for my safety during the
next four or five hours. Please pray for all the people who are having to do
this awful thing and those who suffer it. The psychological trauma for the
police and army details will, quite possibly, be even worse than that
suffered by the people whose homes are being destroyed. They are having to
act against their own people. If they don't, they will be dismissed and then
how do they provide for their own family. It is a terrible dilemma to face.
This may be a clever plan to divide the
community. Those in power have long been unsure of the loyalty of the
professional police and army. President Mugabe now has the 'green bombers' -
the brainwashed youth who have perpetrated appalling atrocities in the
past - guarding his residence. Across the road is what used to be the
Governor's residence in years gone by. It now houses the Presidential Guard.
The professional soldiers standing guard at each gatehouse now have a green
bomber in full battle dress, bayonet fixed, keeping an eye on them. This is
a fairly recent happening. I drive past fairly regularly when I stay in

It is interesting that this is all happening at the very time when the
ballot boxes for the March 2002 Presidential election are finally being
delivered to the High Court, where the MDC is challenging the results. I
walked past there on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. There was a line of
lorries, each day, disgorging ballot boxes. The cities have been solidly
behind the MDC. We had another election recently. A friend of mine was going
overseas and would be away during the election. She said that airport
officials were asking each traveller how long they would be away. Everyone
who would be out of the country at the time of the election had their
passport taken away for photocopying and had to give all details of their
residential address, etc. She wondered later if it were another means of
rigging the election. Another suggestion has been that Mr Mugabe might call
a snap election while everyone is displaced. There is no fuel for them to go
to rural areas and come back to the cities to vote. There are fuel queues
wherever there is any hope there might be fuel coming. On some streets the
vehicles in these queues are three abreast, and the taxi drivers keep
jumping the queues. It wouldn't take much to ignite a very ugly situation.
Several weeks ago, when the situation wasn't nearly so bad, I queued for
eleven hours before getting fuel. I just hope I have enough to reach home.

The vendors were chased off the streets last week, their goods confiscated
or destroyed. The big wicker furniture and carving markets are deserted, the
destruction still visible. Yesterday I saw a huge stone hippo abandoned in
the wreckage. Obviously it was too heavy for anyone to move. And, in another
place, a steel-framed wicker chair that had been badly bent out of shape.
But the little vendors are back - with two avocados, six bananas, two
packets of peanuts, or a few cellphone recharge cards. One person was
selling salt by the eggcupful. They are like the reeds. The tempest rolls
over them and they bend with it. When it's past they come back. They have to
make a living somehow and the informal sector is probably bigger than the
formal. Formal employment accounts for less than twenty percent of those
wanting work. A very small proportion of the population when you consider
that more than fifty percent of our population is under the age of 18.
Thousands upon thousands of people have been rendered homeless and had their
little businesses destroyed. It looks as bad as the aftermath of the
tsunami. There is word that the next offensive will be against women who
wear miniskirts and tight trousers. This is in the name of tradition. When
you consider that the great grandmothers of the people perpetrating this
policy wore nothing but a skin 'nhembe' front and back of their private
parts (nothing on the sides) and a few strings of beads, this doesn't really
hold water. I know this because I saw women dressed like that in my
childhood. Also, those young women performing traditional dances wear lycra
garments similar to cycling shorts under their short skirts. This is just
another way to try and humiliate women who have managed to escape enough to
be independent and be somewhat lacking in 'respect' for traditionally-minded
men who used to hold uncontested sway.

You will understand if I do not sign my name. There is much more I could
write about, and probably will once I have verified the facts with the
relevant people. May God bless you and keep you safe, warm, fed and happy
wherever you are. Zimbabweans are living in interesting times.

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