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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Zimbabwe silent on SA loan
Thu 15 September 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe has not engaged South Africa over financial
assistance since apparently finding an alternative source of help, a top
Pretoria official said on Wednesday.

      South African government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe told the Press
that Pretoria remained keen to give the US$500 million to Harare to help it
pay off International Monetary Fund (IMF) debts and buy critically needed
food and fuel.

      But he said President Robert Mugabe's government has not bothered to
come back to Pretoria for the money since making a surprise US$120 million
payment to the IMF at the end of August.

      Mugabe's government, which was last Friday given six months by the IMF
board to clear off an outstanding US$175 million, claims it raised the money
it used to reduce arrears with the Fund from its own resources.

      But observers say Zimbabwe, which has had no meaningful foreign
currency reserves for the last six years, could only have been given the
money by an as yet unknown ally.

      Unconfirmed reports suggest the money could have come from China a
long time ally of Mugabe's government from the days when the veteran leader
led Zimbabwe's independence struggle. Other reports claim the money was
provided by the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that
Mugabe helped fight off an armed rebellion three years ago.

      Although Netshitenzhe said South Africa never sought to use the loan
offer to secure "leverage over Zimbabwe" officials in Pretoria privately
admitted the regional powerhouse that has been trying to broker a solution
to Zimbabwe's crisis might find it even harder to exert pressure on Harare
if Mugabe's government found alternative sources of help.

      Pretoria is understood to have demanded that Mugabe resumes dialogue
with the opposition to find a lasting solution to Zimbabwe's crisis before
money could be given to his government, a condition the Zimbabwean leader
publicly rejected.

      Mugabe says he would rather talk to British Premier Tony Blair who he
says is the principal behind opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his
Movement for Democratic Change party.

      Zimbabwe, which is battling its worst ever economic crisis, wants
foreign currency to import fuel, food, electricity, essential medical drugs
among other basic survival commodities. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

National Parks boss accused of diverting fuel to his farm
Thu 15 September 2005

      HWANGE - Wildlife in Zimbabwe's giant Hwange National Park could die
because of lack of drinking water after a senior government official
allegedly diverted to his farm fuel meant for pumping water to the park,
local conservationists warned on Wednesday.

      Hwange, situated in the hot and arid north-west of the country, is
Zimbabwe's biggest wildlife sanctuary boasting a large variety of wild
animals including elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, rhinos and

      A senior official of the non-governmental Zimbabwe Conservation Task
Force, Johnny Rodrigues, said some of the less resistant animal species in
the park were already on the "verge of death" because there is no water.

      He said: "The department (government's National Parks and Wildlife
department) has been failing to pump adequate water to the pans and animals
are virtually on the verge of death. We have reported the matter to the
provincial parks authorities and we await their response."

      According to Rodrigues, the water problem began after Cephas Mudenda,
who is the second in command at National Parks' Sinamatela Camp in Hwange,
allegedly diverted for personal use more than 1 000 litres of diesel that
was meant for water pumping engines.

      Fuel is in critical short supply in Zimbabwe because there is no hard
cash to pay foreign suppliers.
      Mudenda, who is also a brother to local ruling ZANU PF party stalwart,
Jacob Mudenda, is said to have taken the diesel to power tractors at his
farm in Dete near Hwange.

      "We have since learnt that fuel supplied by the Parks department . . .
was diverted for personal use by a brother of ZANU PF leader Jacob Mudenda,"
Rodrigues said.

      But Medenda vehemently denied hijacking fuel from the park. He said:
"I do not know anything about fuel being diverted to my farm and I have no
access to fuel allocations, which are done at Hwange Main Camp."

      It was not possible to immediately get comment on the matter from
Environment and Tourism Minister, Francis Nhema, under whose portfolio the
wildlife department falls.

      Zimbabwe's once booming tourism sector is on a free-fall after hordes
of self-styled veterans of the country's 1970s independence war invaded
white-owned commercial farms and conservancies in the past five years in a
campaign defended by President Robert Mugabe as a "genuine demonstration of
land hunger."

      Mugabe followed up the farm invasions months later with his
controversial programme to seize land from white farmers and giving it over
to landless blacks.

      The war veterans and the black peasants were allowed by the government
to move onto former white-owned conservancies where they killed most of the
wildlife there mainly for food. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwe may dump SA as financial source

September 14, 2005, 18:15

Zimbabwe has paid half the amount of money it owes to the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and cabinet today welcomed the achievement. The IMF has
now given Zimbabwe a six months grace to pay up.

However, since they have paid half their dues to the IMF, no further talks
of a loan from South Africa have taken place. The Cabinet's spokesperson
confirmed that the South African government had not engaged with its
neighbour since Harare found alternative financial assistance at the end of
last month.

Analysts have suggested that South Africa might lose leverage over the
Zimbabwean government as Zimbabwe may well be looking for alternative
sources of funding.

Other sources may be approached
Zimbabwe could turn to sources with less stringent conditions than the ones
believed to have been imposed by South Africa. Joel Netshitenzhe, the head
of government communications, says they have never sought to have any
leverage over Zimbabwe, what they have sought to do is to provide such
assistance, as they may require.

Netshitenzhe said South Africa remained keen to assist in Zimbabwe's
economic recovery, as well as the normalisation of their political
situation, in that country.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Guardian

Wednesday September 14 2005

Award for the Zimbabwean
By Jon Dennis / World news 05:06pm

Congratulations to the Zimbabwean, which has won an award for innovation in
the 2005 Highway Africa awards for innovative use of new media in Africa.
Last night's award ceremony was televised live across the continent by SABC

The Zimbabwean's publisher, Wilf Mbanga, whose Daily News was closed down by
Robert Mugabe's regime in 2003, said he was delighted to have won the award
just eight months after launching the paper. He thanked "our African
colleagues" for their recognition and paid tribute to the Zimbabwean's
contributors - refugees living all over the world who work free of charge.

Mbanga also thanked the Guardian and Kitsite for their help in designing the
Zimbabwean's website.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Court ruling may herald financial sector turmoil

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 14 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - A court ruling that the state-controlled
Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG), an amalgamation of three failed
commercial banks, acquired its assets illegally could lead to chaos in the
country's financial sector, an economist told IRIN.

Last year the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) closed down the Trust, Royal
and Barbican banks, and subsequently amalgamated them into the ZAGB under
stewardship of the RBZ. The move was aimed at stabilising the financial
sector after the collapse of several commercial banks as a result of
mismanagement and the contracting economy.

This week lawyers acting for private shareholders of the failed commercial
banks won a court ruling against the amalgamation, and analysts warned that
the ZABG might collapse, sparking further chaos in the country's already
fragile financial sector.

Economist Dennis Nikisi told IRIN that should the ZABG collapse, "it would
be disastrous because government departments, parastatals and major
corporates maintain accounts with the ZABG".

"Its closure would result in major problems in terms of working capital
being locked in, etc ... it would have a ripple effect on the operational
capacity of companies, parastatals and government departments banking with
ZABG," he explained.

There had already been a "small run" on the bank, with private depositors
withdrawing their cash because they feared that a collapse would wipe out
their savings, but Nikisi commented that these were "small depositors".

Due to the importance of the ZABG, the government was likely to ensure the
banking group's continued existence, "even if it means going back to
parliament to promulgate a new law", he said.

Although the court ruled that the amalgamation of assets was not legal, it
failed to make a determination on whether the assets of the failed
commercial banks should be returned to their shareholders.

"With the ruling being vague, it clouds the issue - ZABG was not ordered to
return the assets, which makes ZABG a going concern, so they remain
amalgamated," Nikisi noted.

The ruling opened the way for further court petitions to have the assets of
the failed commercial banks returned to their shareholders, he pointed out,
but the overriding concern of the government would be that "ZABG needs to
remain afloat in order to maintain financial sector stability".

Should another court ruling threaten the viability of the ZABG, "government
can simply go back to parliament with new legislation to make sure that ZABG
remains a legally operating entity", Nikisi said, citing a precedent set
during the country's fast-track land reform programme.

"Government felt the courts were delaying the state's acquisition of
agricultural land," Nikisi noted, "so they simply went to parliament and
enacted legislation to legalise government's acquisition of farms."


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Farming experts summoned, questioned over prediction

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-Sep-15

THE President's Office last Wednesday summoned farming experts and
questioned them on their prediction that the country's 2005 - 2006
agricultural season will be grim because of poor planning and unavailability
of inputs. Ray Ndhlukula - the deputy chief secretary to the President and
Cabinet - summoned the experts a day after they told the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture that the agricultural season
would be disastrous.
Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity, Bright Matonga confirmed that
the experts were called to the President's Office and met Ndhlukula and
other senior government officials.
He described the meeting as a routine one on "what needs to be done as a
matter of urgency" in agriculture.
"It was a routine meeting to update the government on what needs to be done
as a matter of urgency.  What needs to be done when and how? We needed to
know what is the best way forward through utilising their skills and
presence on the ground," Matonga said. He added that the meeting was not a
reaction to the Parliamentary meeting, adding the government "does not
operate on reactions".
Chairman of the Zimbabwe Seed Traders Association Temba Nkatazo confirmed
that they were called to the President's Office.
"We were summoned to the President's Office on the state of preparedness (to
the coming season). It was like a follow-up meeting to the one we had at
Parliament. The issues were the same," Nkatazo said.
Vice-president of the Agricultural Dealers and Manufacturers Association
(ADMA) Walter Chigwada also confirmed attending the meeting, adding that it
was a follow-up to their recommendations to various ministries connected
with agriculture.
"Basically, the officials wanted to confirm what was discussed at the
portfolio committee and we told them the same thing; we do not have discs
for the coming agricultural season," Chigwada said.
The vice-president of the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU) Edward Raradza said
among the issues discussed was that of shortage of inputs.
"The agenda was a carryover from the meeting we had at Parliament. We
discussed the issue of the shortage of foreign currency," Raradza said.
Last Tuesday, producers of seed, fertiliser, chemicals and farming equipment
told the parliamentary committee that the agricultural sector was badly
managed and complained of poor working relations with the Ministry of
The experts said militating against their efforts was the late release of
agricultural funds and shortage of inputs.
As an example, they said, the country required 51 000 tonnes of hybrid seeds
but at the moment there were only 26 000 tonnes available.
An official from fertiliser company, Windmill said they had technically run
out of stocks as the ones they had in stock had been already bought and were
awaiting collection.
Fertiliser companies also complained that they were not given priority in
the allocation of foreign currency.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Joint ventures fail to take off

Shame Makoshori
issue date :2005-Sep-15

LOCAL companies have failed to secure critical joint ventures with foreign
companies, dealing a heavy blow to their efforts to bring in fresh capital
injections to resuscitate declining production levels, the Business Mirror
has established. Zimbabwe Investment Centre (ZIC) sources yesterday said
foreign companies were hesitant to throw themselves into such deals citing
the volatile macro economic environment.
The sources said foreign companies were not sure if they would be able to
recover capital expenditure in light of the deteriorating economic
environment characterised by fuel shortages, rising production costs and
persistent inflationary pressures.
This newspaper understands that at least 10 companies have appealed, through
the ZIC for foreign investment partners to take up stakes and boost their
The ZIC has been helping the companies to link up with foreign partners
since January this year but no takers have come up.
"Just like in general Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) it has not been easy
finding foreign partners for companies because Zimbabwe is still viewed as a
high risk investment destination where even multinationals are closing down.
"Most investment proposals that we are receiving are in the retail sector,
this is not a high risk sector," the ZIC official said.
ZIC executive director (CEO) Richard Mbaiwa confirmed yesterday that the bad
publicity and volatile economic environment in the country had dispelled
potential foreign investment partners.
Among the companies that have been pursuing offshore capital injections
since the beginning of the year include leading agro-chemicals manufacturer,
Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries (Zimphos) which is currently facing problems
and is struggling to meet growing market demand for agricultural chemicals.
Brick producer and wall constructor, Newstream Bricks and Walling is seeking
partners to take up 30 percent equity in the business through the injection
of US$50 000.
Another company, Honey and Water Investments, a diversified concern with
interests in gold and tantalite mining is also in the hunt for both local
and foreign investors who are expected to take up 50 percent shareholding.
Various other companies have been lining up for working capital injections
ranging between US$50 000 and US$57.5 million.
Government-backed financial lifelines channelled through the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the Zimbabwe Development Bank (ZDB) have failed to plug
the gap created by economic problems.
Last year, the RBZ provided more than $2 trillion under the Productive
Sector Facility (PSF) for distressed companies while the Ministry of
Industry and International Trade also provided more that $200 billion under
the Distressed Companies facility.
The Ministry of Industry and International Trade said the financial
facilities would be used for such programmes as recapitalisation and the
refurbishment of machinery, acquisition of capital goods and working capital
requirements but these were overwhelmed by applications from distressed

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Kuruneri too ill to stand trial

Fortune Mbele
issue date :2005-Sep-15

THE High Court yesterday postponed indefinitely the trial of former finance
minister Chris Kuruneri after a doctor recommended that his poor health did
not allow him to stand trial for at least three months. Justice Susan
Mavangira postponed Kuruneri's trial in his absence after his lawyer
Jonathan Samukange produced a letter from eye specialist, Dr Solomon
Guramatunhu, on the state of the former Mazowe West legislator's health.
Kuruneri is on trial for allegedly externalising large sums of foreign
Guramatunhu's letter, dated September 13 2005, read: "I certify that I have
examined this patient who complained of the deterioration of vision and
severe episodes of pain on the side of the head and face.
"He has very severe neuralgia, which is episodic. These episodes may last
for several months. I would advise that he rests at home for the next three
months until further review. He is most unlikely to be functional when he
has this attack."
Prosecutor Joseph Jagada told the court that he had seen Guramatunhu's
letter and had no objection to the eye specialist's request that Kuruneri be
granted a three-month postponement to recuperate.
Jagada added that although it was visibly clear during Kuruneri's previous
court appearance that he was ill, he would as a matter of procedure arrange
for a government specialist to also examine him.
This would allow the court to come up with a balanced view of the accused's
health status.
"I have seen the letter and under these circumstances there is nothing that
we can do. I think we will have the services of a government specialist to
examine him so that we have a balanced view. What we suggest, given the
recommendation is that he rests for another three months. We further
recommend that the matter be postponed sine die (indefinitely)," Jagada
He added that the matter would be postponed to the next session of the High
Court next year.
Mavangira then granted the postponement.
Meanwhile, Samukange yesterday applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme
Court against Mavangira's refusal to recuse herself on the grounds that she
was biased.
Samukange argued that it was improper for either the State or the defence to
respond to an application for recusal.
He argued that in making submissions in his application for the judge's
recusal, the State had not assisted Mavangira in making a judgment, but had
defended her.
"The application is based in particular on whether the State or defence is
entitled to respond and then defend a judge or magistrate in an application
for recusal. It is my respectful submission that the application be allowed
and since the matter is going to be postponed, it will not prejudice
 anyone," Samukange argued.
Last week, Kuruneri applied for Mavangira to distance herself from the case,
arguing she was biased and that he would not get a fair trial.
However, Mavangira threw out the application on Monday, ruling that issues
raised by the defence did not, in any way, indicate that she was biased.
Mavangira said she would continue handling the matter without fear or
Yesterday,  Jagada said he was not prepared to respond to the application
for leave to appeal, as he had not been informed that such a submission
would be made.
Jagada will respond to the application today.
The State is alleging that Kuruneri contravened the Exchange Control Act
between February 2002 and April 2004 at Harare International Airport when he
exported US$582 611,99, 34 471 British pounds and 30 000 Euros to South
Alternatively, he is being charged for allegedly smuggling the said money in
contravention of provisions of the Customs and Excise
On another count, Kuruneri is being charged with exporting R1 314 102, 92
from Zimbabwe to South Africa, where it was deposited into his ABSA Bank
Kuruneri is alternatively being charged with flouting sections of the
Customs and Excise Act for smuggling the said amounts of foreign
On the fourth count, he is accused of making payments outside the country
without the authority of the central
Allegations against him are that on March 6 2002, Kuruneri "caused" the
Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe to telegraphically transfer R5, 2 million with
First National Bank of South Africa.
The money, the State contended, was payment for the purchase of a house in
the plush Llandudno suburb in Cape Town by Kuruneri.
Kuruneri, the State alleged, on April 22 2002 made a R2,7 million payment
for another house in the same suburb without the authority of the RBZ.
On the sixth count, Kuruneri is again accused of paying R2,5 million for the
purchase of Unit B Ocean View, Sea Point, without the authority of the
central bank.
On the last count, Kuruneri on February 3 2004 allegedly made payment of
R547 743 to Mercedes Benz, Claremont, Cape Town, to purchase a Mercedes Benz
ML 350, again without the authority of the
He pleaded guilty to a charge of contravening the Citizenship Act after he
was found in possession of a Canadian passport and awaits sentence at the
end of the externalisation trial.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Company to maintain Falls Bridge

issue date :2005-Sep-15

EMERGENCY Railway Properties (ERP) - a joint company formed by the National
Railway of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the Zambia Railways (ZR) - says it will
continue maintaining the Victoria Falls Bridge to avoid its collapse amid
fears it had developed cracks. The ERP manages the bridge which links
Zimbabwe with its northern neighbour, and experts have indicated that if
properly maintained the structure's life span could be extended by another
Speaking at the 100-year commemoration of the bridge's existence at the
weekend in the tourist resort, ERP Zambian representative Knox Karima, said
there was need for the firm to constantly check on the bridge's strength
given concerns raised by engineering experts that it may collapse.
"As ERP we have received numerous alert calls on the strength of the bridge.
We have been informed of the cracks that have since developed in the bridge
and we have instituted assessments into the strength of the bridge," Karima
"However, it is important to note that our assessments have proved that the
bridge is still reasonably strong and can last for another 100 years if we
are to keep maintaining the bridge properly."
He noted that preliminary maintenance work had started.
"We are hopeful that this bridge will continue to play its role in the
economic emancipation of the Southern African region as well as enhance
trade between Zimbabwe and Zambia. On our part as ERP we will do all we can
to make sure that the bridge is kept strong," Karima said.  News about the
possible collapse of the bridge, he said, would impact negatively on
business and investment in the sub-region.
Matabeleland North Governor and Resident Minister Sithokozile Mathuthu said
there was need for ERP to continuously invest in the maintenance and proper
upkeep of the bridge, which also hosts popular tourist water sports, such
bungee jumping.
"I am informed that you have continued your assessment on the strength of
the bridge. I am also informed that the latest assessment tests have proved
that the Victoria Falls Bridge still has a further 100 years life span,"
Mathuthu said. "I believe this is no mean achievement and [...ends]
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

CMED officials probed over $10bn fuel scam

From Our Correspondent in Mutare
issue date :2005-Sep-15

POLICE in Chimanimani are investigating three CMED (Pvt) Limited officials
in connection with the theft of over one million litres of fuel valued at
$10 billion last week. The officer-in-charge of Chimanimani Police, an
Inspector Ruzvidzo, confirmed the probe, but declined to give details saying
that  doing so could jeopardise investigations.
"We are still investigating the case and at the moment I cannot divulge any
details," Ruzvidzo said.
Sources at CMED said the three officials based at Ngangu Depot stole 1,2
million litres of diesel and 1 000 litres of petrol between August and the
first week of this month for sale to desperate motorists.The three allegedly
smuggled the fuel out of the depot in drums on the pretext that they would
be supplying it to government vehicles in the district.
"The parastatal was swindled of fuel valued at over $10 billion at the old
public pump price of $10 000 and $9 600 per litre for petrol and diesel
respectively by the three officials," the sources said. "The fuel was sold
on the black market."A litre of petrol or diesel is sold at around $70 000
on the black market, as the country's petroleum shortages continue due to
lack of foreign currency to import the product.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zim homeless get food aid
14/09/2005 20:49  - (SA)

Johannesburg - After a six-week delay, Zimbabwean families displaced by
Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out the Trash) will now receive relief with
37 tons of food and nearly 5 000 blankets having arrived in the country.

The SA Council of Churches (SACC) said: "The last of the supplies arrived on
Monday... after being delayed by six weeks due to agricultural and customs

Zimbabwe's Christian Care would now work through Zimbabwe's churches to
distribute the relief to families that had been scattered by the forced

The statement from the SACC said Christian Care expressed thanks for the
council's "efforts and resilience" in pursuing the documentation required by
the Zimbabwean government.

As a result of these obstacles, Christian care had suggested future relief
supplies be procured within Zimbabwe, with only goods unobtainable in the
country being imported.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwe Considers Importing Crude Oil to Meet Fuel Crisis
Zimbabwe considers importing crude oil to meet fuel crisis

HARARE, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government is considering
importing crude oil and refine it in the country in a bid to resolve the
fuel problem and meet the increasing demand for the commodity.

The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Michael Nyambuya, was quoted
on Tuesday by Chronicle as saying that the option was under consideration
since it would be cheaper to import crude oil.

He said the government has decided to explore the crude refining option as
ample evidence showed that it was cheaper to purchase crude oil and arrange
for its refining.

The Minister also noted that fuel consumption continued to increase, with
demand for diesel rising from 2.5 million liters to 3.5 million liters,
while demand for petrol had risen from two million liters to three million
liters a day.

He said the government was also diversifying sources of fuel due to
escalating oil prices on the international markets.

In this regard, he said, extraction of oil from coal and biofuels take
center stage, since the technology already exists and Zimbabwe would adopt
these technologies to the advantage of the country.

With regard to biofuels, Nyambuya said, the government has decided that
blending petrol with ethanol be resuscitated and that the country must
produce biodiesel, which would contribute to 20 percent of the country's
fuel requirements.

Source: Xinhua News Agency - CEIS

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Loan for Mugabe 'will not deprive SA people'    Sheena Adams
          September 14 2005 at 11:11AM

      Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said that should a loan be
granted to Zimbabwe, it would not have an impact on our own budget or the
delivery of services.

      Speaking in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday, she said it
was "incorrect and misleading" to assume that South Africa's intention to
help Zimbabwe meant the needs of Zimbabweans were more important than those
of South Africans.

      "We want to contribute to the resolution of the challenges that
country is facing and also to protect South Africa and the people of
Zimbabwe from the consequences that can result from the collapse of the
Zimbabwean economy," she said.

      South Africa's priorities as contained in the Medium Term Expenditure
Framework remained fixed "and will not be amended or re-prioritised".

      Mlambo-Ngcuka said South Africa had not yet agreed to a loan and that
the figure of R1-billion was inaccurate. She reiterated that the cabinet
felt that any assistance should benefit the Zimbabwean people and be part of
an economic recovery and political normalisation programme.

      "If the situation were to be worse in Zimbabwe, it would be worse in
South Africa," Mlambo-Ngcuka warned.

         .. This article was originally published on page 2 of Cape Argus
on September 14, 2005

Back to the Top
Back to Index

    Education ministry reverses decision on school fees after MDC

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      14 September 2005

      MDC MP Fidelis Mhashu, who is on the parliamentary committee on
education, reports that because of his interference, the ministry of
education has decided not to backdate the recent increase in school fees
back to January. There was an angry response from parents when the minister
of education announced a 300% increase in fees earlier this year. No-one
seemed to know just when this new fee structure would come into effect. Some
schools backdated it to January, and others said they would start it when
the new term began in September.

      After making a presentation in parliament on behalf of the education
committee and the many parents against backdating the new fees, MP Mhashu
said the minister Aeneas Chigwedere decided the new fees would start in

      There is also a very controversial Education Amendment bill that is
due to be tabled in parliament after having gone through the first reading.
The bill seeks to empower the education minister to determine the fee
structures for all schools, decide on the uniforms and regulate all matters
relating to teachers and the organisations that represent them. The
parliamentary education committee held a public hearing at which most
contributors said they were opposed to it entirely. They favoured an
overhaul of the entire education system in Zimbabwe after consulting
stakeholders around the country.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZANU-PF officials implicated in illegal trophy hunting scams

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      14 September 2005

      Several ZANU-PF officials have been implicated in illegal hunting
activities that involve fake names and permits, and the killing of animals
in protected areas. Investigations have so far identified 4 senior officials
of the ruling party and their associates who allegedly aided local and
foreign trophy poachers to loot wildlife in the Intensive Conservation Areas
of Matabeleland North.

      Our contacts have so far named suspended ZANU-PF Matabeleland North
chairman Jacob Mudenda, industry and commerce minister Obert Mpofu and
welfare minister Abednico Ncube. Thandiwe Nkomo, daughter of the late former
Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, has also been implicated as a partner in one

      The Intensive Conservation Areas (ITA) were declared by Robert Mugabe
in 1991 to protect the country's fragile Big Five herd. The area covers all
farms newly occupied by senior ZANU PF officials in a scramble for prime
properties on either side of the proposed Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Pipeline. It spreads around Hwange, Gwayi and the Matetsi conservancies.

      Investigations have since revealed direct trophy poaching which
sometimes involved the use of forged hunting permits and blank hunting
quotas which do not show the name of the client or the type and location of
animal to be hunted. In some cases, hippo, giraffe, lion, and rhino, all
protected from trophy hunting by the 1991 ITA have been found added on to
the hunt on legally obtained hunt permits.

      Investigations so far show that between 2001 and 2004, Inyati Safaris,
which is owned by one Ed Kadzombe and lists suspended ZANU PF Matabeleland
North chairman Jacob Mudenda as a consultant and associate, was involved in
an illegal hunting permits subletting deal. Inyati loaned its permits to De
Marillac Safaris, which used the permits to hunt extensively at Guzu Forest,
an intensive Big Five conservation zone reserved for photographic safaris.

      Zim Africa Safaris, owned by one Shaun Steyn and listing Thandiwe
Nkomo, daughter of former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo as a partner, is on a
Department of National Parks confidential investigations list in connection
with alleged trophy poaching from Dete Railway Farm 31 between 2001 and
2004. In the same Railway Farm Block, industry and commerce minister Obert
Mpofu is reported to have offered numerous hunting concessions to foreign
hunters until the recent hunting ban.

      Mpofu is also linked to the issue of illegal hunting permits in the
Matetsi Five area near the resort town of Victoria Falls. Lalapanzi Safaris,
owned by one B. Mutaudzi, is also on the national parks confidential probe
list in connection with the use of bogus hunting licences. It is alleged
that between 2001 and 2003, the company used licence 0008, belonging to
Chamankanu Farm on pre-hunts around Dete.

      Lalapanzi is also being probed for using fake names like Ugere Bo
(Pvt) Limited to obtain pre-hunt permits. It is also alleged to have used
the trade name Dream Merchant Safaris of Box 56 Dete to conduct illegal
hunts on behalf of local and foreign hunters in the same period. Some of the
pre-hunt forms in questions were used blank, in some cases with crucial
client information and specification of the hunt and hunting area missing.

      In Matabeleland South, deputy public service, labour and social
welfare minister Abednico Ncube is alleged to have pocketed R7 500 from an
illegal hunt conducted by a band of South African hunters at Tshabezi Safari
Farm in West Nicholson. The matter came to light when police arrested the
twelve hunters in July 2003 at Beitbridge border post as they tried to
export illegal trophies and bush meat.

      Investigations traced the meat back to Tshabezi where it was
discovered that fourteen impala, two kudu, two eland bulls and one
wildebeest had been shot by the same hunters with the help of war veterans,
who were at that time occupying the farm on behalf of minister Ncube.

      According to the Wildlife Society of Zimbabwe, one hippo and one
crocodile were also shot but left in the water at Tshabezi Dam after the
hunters failed to retrieve the carcasses. The hunters were quickly released
from police custody after Ncube's personal intervention following their
revelation that they had paid R7 500 for the hunt to war veterans who said
the money was for the minister in his capacity as new owner of the safari

      The rest, including four teenagers, were allowed to proceed to SA
while one Mr Brummer, identified as party leader, remained behind and paid a
fine for lesser offences before being released a few days latter.

      All concerned ZANU PF officials except Thandiwe Nkomo denied
involvement in trophy poaching. Ncube also denied intervening to secure the
release of the South African hunters linked to poaching at Tshabezi Farm.
Mudenda admitted being an associate of Inyati Safaris but added that the
relationship does not link him with its daily operations.
      Mpofu denied all allegations and said he had since returned some of
the farms concerned to the State. He added that he was not aware of being
probed in connection with hunts going back to the last three years.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Assembly of hypocrites
- By Nicholas D. Kristof

The biggest gathering of leaders in history unfolds this week at the United
Nations, as they preen and boast about how much they're helping the world's
poor. In short, it may be the greatest assembly in history of hypocrites.

The fact is that with just a few exceptions, the Presidents and Prime
Ministers coming to the UN summit are doing a disgraceful job in helping the
poor. That's one reason the world's richest 500 individuals have the same
income as the world's poorest 416 million people.

We Americans set a dreadful example as hosts to the summit. President Bush
has been trying to wriggle away from his 2002 endorsement of the principle
that rich countries should try to provide 70 cents in official development
assistance for every $100 in national income. (Mr Bush has sharply increased
foreign aid from the Clinton years, but it still stood at only 16 cents in
2004 for each $100 of national income.)

The Bush administration also tried to change summit documents to downplay
references to the millennium development goals of overcoming poverty.
Fortunately, the Bush administration backed off and now grudgingly joins the
international consensus against infant mortality.

It's common to hear abroad scathing criticisms of US stinginess, much of it
deserved. But Japan is also a cheapskate, giving only a hair more than the
US, and Italy gives even less.

The new Human Development Report 2005, recently issued by the UN Development
Programme, is blessedly undiplomatic in its willingness to point figures -
at just about everybody. It notes that the US and other rich countries seem
unwilling to provide a total of $7 billion annually for the next decade to
provide 2.6 billion people with access to clean drinking water. That
investment would save 4,000 lives a day, and the cost is less than Europeans
spend on perfume - or than Americans spend on cosmetic surgery.

Meanwhile, the report adds, AIDS kills three million people a year and
devastates countries like nothing since the Black Death in the 14th century.
Yet annual world spending to fight AIDS amounts to three days of military

This UN summit is meant to review the millennium development goals, such as
cutting child deaths around the world by two-thirds by 2015. All the goals,
adopted with great fanfare five years ago, are feasible, and some
countries - from Bangladesh to Indonesia, Brazil to Mongolia - are on track
to meet them. Hats off to them. But most of the world appears likely to miss
the goals.

Two countries that should be the leaders of the developing world, China and
India, are both off track and should be ashamed of their records. In India,
among children 1 to 5, girls are 50 per cent more likely to die than boys,
meaning that each year 130,000 Indian girls are discriminated to death.

Bangladesh has now overtaken India in improving child mortality, and Vietnam
has overtaken China. If India had matched Bangladesh's rate of reduction in
child mortality over the last decade, according to the UNDP, it would have
saved 732,000 children's lives this year.

Likewise, China has largely ignored its poor interior, so it still loses
730,000 children each year. China has also taken diplomatic positions that
hurt the world's most vulnerable populations, by supporting Robert Mugabe in
Zimbabwe and by implicitly endorsing Sudan's genocide just as it once
endorsed Pol Pot's.

And African leaders? Perhaps this is naïve, but it strikes me as racist for
them to have complained about brutal white rule in South Africa or Zimbabwe
while excusing black rule that is even more brutal.

Readers often ask if I find it depressing to visit African slums or
mud-brick villages. On the contrary, it's exhilarating to see how little it
takes to make a difference. Ancient scourges like river blindness and
leprosy are being controlled, and a clever initiative by Bill Gates and
others to promote vaccinations (the Global Alliance for Vaccinations and
Immunisation) saved more than one million lives just between 2001 and 2004.

That makes it maddening to see leaders posturing for the cameras at the UN
while, as the UNDP report notes, "the promise to the world's poor is being
broken." The report adds that the gap between the current trendline on child
mortality and the one the leaders committed themselves to amounts to 41
million children dying before their fifth birthday over the next decade.

Rather than toasting themselves, these leaders should apologise for this
continuing holocaust.
Back to the Top
Back to Index










The Aftermath of a Disastrous Venture

A Follow-up report on “Operation Murambatsvina”















A report by the

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum


September 2005

Executive Summary


This report is a follow up to the previous Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum preliminary report entitled Order out of Chaos, or Chaos out of Order? A Preliminary Report on Operation “Murambatsvina” issued in June 2005.


This latest report traces developments that have taken place since our June report and gives an overview of the main consequences of Operation Murambatsvina since it commenced on 19 May 2005. It also locates the Operation in the context of events that have happened in Zimbabwe over several years.


The Vice-President announced on 27 July 2005 that Operation Murambatsvina was now over, following the receipt of the highly critical report of the UN Special Envoy. This report generally castigated the Zimbabwe Government for a highly inappropriate programme, and made a number of specific recommendations.


The report of the UN Special Envoy was criticised by the Zimbabwe Government on a number of specious grounds, but the report has been corroborated in virtually every respect by local Zimbabwean research. Research conducted in the Greater Harare area by ActionAid International and the Combined Harare Residents Association indicated that 97% of the sample had been affected adversely by Operation Murambatsvina, and the report raised significant concerns about a number of vulnerable groups. This research has now been complimented by a national survey.


Whilst the Government’s position on further displacements, evictions, and harassment of informal traders remains unclear, there are reports that indicate that such actions have continued after the announcement by the Vice-President of the suspension of Operation Murambatsvina. Buildings have been demolished, and arrests of vendors continue unabated.


Significantly, the report of the UN Special Envoy holds the Zimbabwe Government responsible for the humanitarian disaster that has followed Operation Murambatsvina, but was unable to apportion any specific responsibility. However, as this present report indicates, the scale of the operation must implicate the Government, a number of Government ministers, Council officials, and the senior management of the Zimbabwe Republic Police [ZRP].


Whilst it is evident that the victims have generally had little opportunity to seek legal redress, and that the Zimbabwe courts have generally been unhelpful, a recent judgement in the Bulawayo High Court has found that the Zimbabwe Republic Police [ZRP] were acting unlawfully in the destruction of property and the confiscation of goods.


It is evident that many of the concerns raised by the UN Special Envoy are being dismissed or minimised by the Zimbabwe Government. As this report indicates, the Zimbabwe Government has a long history of reneging on international agreements, as was the case around the Abuja Agreement, or failing to respect the recommendations of international treaty bodies, as was the case with the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee in 1998.


When it is the subject of adverse reports, the Zimbabwe Government has shown a tendency to vilify and denigrate the authors of such reports, and then resorts to various delaying tactics in order to prevent discussion of such reports. This was most clearly exemplified by the events following the submission of a critical report of a mission of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The same trend seems evident in respect of the report of the UN Special Envoy.



This report is a follow up to the previous Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum preliminary report entitled Order out of Chaos, or Chaos out of Order? A Preliminary Report on Operation “Murambatsvina” issued in June 2005.


This latest report traces developments that have taken place since our June report and gives an overview of the main consequences of Operation Murambatsvina since it commenced on 19 May 2005. It also locates the Operation in the context of events that have happened in Zimbabwe over several years.


This Operation continued to take place despite pleas by a whole succession of local and international church bodies and non-governmental organisations for government to halt it. The Operation continued after the arrival, on 27 June 2005, of the Special Envoy sent by the United Nations to investigate what was happening, despite a public announcement at that time that the Operation had ended. It also did not stop after the public release of the highly critical Report of the Special Envoy on 22 July 2005, in which one of the main recommendations was that the Operation should immediately be halted. On 27 July 2005, the Acting President Joyce Mujuru announced at a meeting that Operation Murambatsvina was now over.[1] It remains to be seen whether it has indeed ended, as, on the very day that the Acting President made this statement, bulldozers knocked down the Kwekwe offices of the main opposition party, the MDC, with a large number of police and Council officials looking on.


This new report takes its title from UN Special Envoy’s apt description of Operation Murambatsvina as “a disastrous venture.”


Mention should be at the outset of the blocking by the Zimbabwean Ggovernment of another probe into the Operation by the African Union Commission’s Representative. In early July 2005, the African Union Commission designated a Special Rappoteur of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to visit Zimbabwe to investigate the impact of the Operation on its behalf. sent a respected senior official with the Commission to Zimbabwe to investigate the impact of the Operation. The Zimbabwean authorities refused to allow him to carry out his investigations, saying that they were too busy dealing with the visit by the UN investigator. They also claimed that the African Union Commission had breached protocol by sending the official without first notifying the Zimbabwean Government. It is quite clear that the main reason why the Government blocked this investigation was simply because it feared that the AU investigator would give an adverse report.[2]


Impact of Operation Murambatsvina


In our previous report, the  NGO Forum looked at the human impact of Operation Murambatsvina, the Operation that commenced on 19 May 2005. That report described the humanitarian disaster that the Operation had created by devastating the lives of large numbers of urban people and rendering completely destitute already poor and highly vulnerable people.


A number of subsequent reports and statements have strongly corroborated what we said in our previous report.


The UN Report


The foremost report is the exhaustive United Nations report. This is a damning indictment of Operation Murambatsvina, an operation that the report refers to as “a disastrous venture”. It says that the Operation was carried out in “an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering and, in repeated cases, with disregard to several provisions of national and international legal frameworks.” It says further that the Ooperation was conducted with little or no warning and involved the “wanton destruction of homes, business premises and vending sites”. The report estimates that some 700 000 people lost their homes or jobs and that a further 2.4 million people have been affected by the countrywide campaign and has precipitated “a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions”. The Secretary-General also declared the Operation to be “a catastrophic injustice” and has endorsed the report of his Special Envoy.


One important aspect of the UN report is the trenchant criticism of the forced relocation of urban people to rural areas. As pointed out in the previous NGO Forum report, it is completely unacceptable to force people who live or work in the urban centres, and who want to continue to stay there, to move to the rural areas. People should have the freedom to decide where they live and work, and no one has the right to compel them to relocate to places that they do not wish to go. In many rural areas, there is no work available, so those relocated there will be left destitute. Many urban dwellers of foreign origin have no right of abode in the rural areas.[3] In this regard the UN Special Envoy says at p.63 of her report


“The Government’s policy stating that all Zimbabweans have a rural home, and that all those who have been evicted should return to their rural homes, implies a lack of freedom to choose one’s own residence. This has particularly serious implications for those Zimbabweans of foreign origin who have no rural home. The mission visited Caledonia Camp, which was set up by the Government. The camp manager confirmed that the residents were waiting to be transported back to villages.”


Speaking in Bulawayo during her visit to that city, the UN Special Envoy told Ggovernment officials that demolishing slums to force the poor back to the countryside was not a solution to the country’s housing problems. She said that rural repatriation does not work, as, all around the world, people want to come and work in urban centrescenters, and there was no way in which they can be forced to live in the countryside.[4]


Additionally, the Special Envoy pointed out that, prior to Operation Murambatsvina, Zimbabwe was not regarded as country in which slums were a problem. According to UN-HABITAT, the percentage of Zimbabweans living in slum-conditions was only 3.4% of the urban population, a figure much lower than even many industrialised countries[5].


In her conclusion the UN Special Envoy has this to say at p 71:

“.  .  .the unplanned and over-zealous manner in which the Operation was carried out has unleashed chaos and untold human suffering. It has created a state of emergency as tens of thousands of families and vulnerable women and children are left in the open without protection from the elements, without access to adequate water and sanitation or health care, and without food security. Such conditions are clearly life-threatening. In human settlements terms, the Operation has rendered over half a million people, previously housed in so-called substandard dwellings, either homeless or living with friends and relatives in overcrowded and health-threatening conditions. In economic terms, the Operation has destroyed and seriously disrupted the livelihoods of millions of people who were coping, however poorly, with the consequences of a prolonged economic crisis.”


We fully agree with this description of the impact of the Operation. In our previous report on the Operation, we expressed similar sentiments.

The ActionAid Report[6]


Another important document that has recently been published is a report on a study carried out into the impact of the Ooperation in Harare. An international non-governmental, organisation, ActionAid, and the Combined Harare Residents Association [CHRA] conducted this study.[7] These organisations carried out an extensive survey in 26 out of the 30 high-density areas of Harare, sampling 81 955 people. According to the report, 97% of households sampled said they had been affected by the operation in some way. They have been affected in one or more of these ways: losing accommodation, losing shelter, losing livelihood or by way of children not attending school. 76% of respondent said they had lost shelter; 79% said they had lost income; 45% of households reported losses of property and 22% reported school dropouts (but 45% said they would now have financial problems that would stand in the way of sending their children back to school).


Additionally, some 60% of households sampled claimed they had become food insecure as a result of the Operation and just over 20% of people interviewed alleged that they had observed a deterioration in their loved ones’ health as a consequence of the displacements. Furthermore, 40% of the respondents, and 82% of child-headed households, claimed to have been psychologically traumatised by the events[8].


The ActionAid/CHRA study also pointed out that the disruption of the informal sector went far beyond the population of people who lost their homes, as the study demonstrated that a majority (73%) of urban dwellers were engaged in informal trading prior to Operation Murambatvsina. The primary sources of livelihood that have were cited to have been disrupted (73%) as a result of the Operation from the sample include: tuck shop ownership (9%), flea market (11%), fruit and vegetable vending (17%), offering accommodation (18%), cross border trader (6%) and petty trade (5%) such as sale of firewood.




The humanitarian programme manager for ActionAid pointed out

“The bulk of those affected by this operation are invisible and have had to resort to various coping mechanisms. Those without shelter have had to find support from relatives who are already living in congested accommodation. Many of those who lost their livelihoods depend on well-wishers for cash or other entitlements, since most don’t have any money at all to buy food.”[9] 

Statement of Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons

The Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Professor Walter Kälin has issued a statement on Operation Murambatsvina[10] in which he said this:

"The Zimbabwean Government's action is incompatible with international law in many respects. The UN's Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement set forth the rights of internally displaced persons under international law and the obligations of States. These Principles are based upon and reflect human rights obligations also accepted by Zimbabwe. They protect against arbitrary displacement in the first place and require due process, adequate notice, appropriate relocation and minimisation of adverse effects. They also require appropriate provision of the necessities of life to displaced persons, protection of their property, as well as offer voluntary choices to displaced persons as to where they will return. On each and every of these points, the Government of Zimbabwe has fallen far short of its obligations".


Responsibility for Operation

In her report, the UN Special Envoy correctly observes that the “Government of Zimbabwe is collectively responsible for what has happened”. The campaign was carried out in the name of the Ggovernment, and at no stage did the Government dissociate itself from the campaign, or try to put a stop to it. On the contrary, various the State President and various Government Ministers, as well as ruling party Members of Parliament[11], vigorously supported the programme and advanced justifications for it. The Special Envoy, however, points out that there was apparently no collective government decision to undertake this Operation.


She observes at p 76:


“Oral evidence heard from senior Government officials, including Ministers, as well as subsequent reports in the local press and discussions in the Parliament of Zimbabwe, suggest that Operation Restore Order was neither conceived collectively in the Cabinet, nor in the ruling party’s (ZANU PF) Politburo and Central Committee. It also appears that there is now a division in Zimbabwe’s political leadership over Operation Restore Order, and that some of the leaders were caught by surprise when it was suddenly initiated as a police and military exercise. While the team was in Zimbabwe, one political leader, Mr. Pearson Mbalekwa, resigned in protest at the Operation from both the Parliament of Zimbabwe and ZANU-PF’s Central Committee. Some senior ZANU-PF politicians were also reported to have expressed directly to President Mugabe their concern and objections to the manner in which the clean-up of cities was being conducted. It has also been reported in the press that the Minister of Local Government had written to the Minister of Home Affairs, under whose portfolio the Zimbabwe Republic Police falls, urging him to stop demolishing houses belonging to several cooperatives that had been established with the blessing of the Ministry of Local Government, and were, therefore, ‘legal’.”


The State President has claimed that the clean-up Operation was planned before the March 2005 elections, but was put on hold until after the election to avoid any impression being created that the Ggovernment was clamping down on urban opposition supporters ahead of the elections. However, a former Cabinet Minister, who is now an independent Member of Parliament, maintains that this matter was never discussed at Cabinet or by other party organs before the election. The campaign was certainly not in any way budgeted for prior to it being undertaken; the Minister of Finance has had to include as a supplementary budget item the announced expenditure on the huge building campaign that is supposed to follow up on Operation Murambatsvina.


The UN Special Envoy also says that the people and Government of Zimbabwe should hold to account those responsible for the injury caused by the Operation.


Exactly who conceived Operation Murambatsvina still remains unclear. As stated in our previous report, there must have been considerable planning and preparation for such a massive country-wide campaign conducted by the police, and the police must have been given authority by the government, or by Government Ministers, to carry it out.


The State President must either have been involved in the planning the overall nature of the campaign, or must have at least been informed about the plan and gave his approval. (As indicated above the President says the campaign had been conceived - presumably with his approval – prior to the March 2005 election.)


The UN Special Envoy suggests the campaign “was based on improper advice by a few architects of the operation.” The Special Envoy expresses her firm opinion that “Operation Restore Order was, in all likelihood, implemented on the basis of improper advice and by over-zealous officials, each with their own agendas.” She notes that, just before the campaign commenced, the Governor of the Reserve Bank gave a speech saying that there was a “need to cleanse the individual rot on the streets of the nation and the need to destroy the shadow forces in the economy.” In Harare, the Chairperson of the Harare Commission (the body appointed by the Minister of Local Government to replace the sacked City Council) gave a speech announcing the start of the clean-up campaign, and describing in some detail the far-reaching nature of this campaign.


Apart from these two officials, the question must be asked who else bears responsibility for this calamitous campaign? Most mayors of urban councils, such as Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare, have disowned or distanced themselves from the campaign. Apart from Harare, the only other head of a council who says he supported the campaign, and authorized the police action, was the mayor of Bindura.


Clearly, the Ministry in charge of the Police, the Ministry of Home Affairs, must have been involved, probably influenced by the Governor of the Reserve Bank. The police fanatically implemented the Operation. The Commissioner of Police and various police spokesmen enthusiastically endorsed the campaign, and provided various justifications for it as it expanded to cover more and more areas, and more and more supposedly illegal activities, such as offices located in urban areas. The police apparently took the campaign too far, as their action to deal with settlements on farms occupied during the land invasions and with urban produce producers was overruled.


Two particularly zealous proponents of the Operation were the Chairperson of the Harare Commission and one of the City Council administrators.


Whoever are the prime movers of this disastrous campaign, what is clear that the head of State and the Government bear overall responsibility for this campaign, as well as all individuals who are proven to be the actual architects of the campaign[12].




Developments since previous Zimbabwe NGO Forum Report


This section describes some of the significant events that have occurred since our preliminary report was issued.


Porta Farm


Porta Farm, which is outside Harare, became a transit camp in when the Government decided to clear away hundreds of poor urban squatters from various locations in Harare ahead of the Commonwealth Summit in Harare, so that Queen Elizabeth would not have to see squalor as she went through Harare. This was another Operation Murambatsvina. The Ggovernment later pledged to provide proper housing for the people at Porta Farm, but this promise was never honoured.


The transit camp remained and grew, and Porta Farm became an established settlement as many people transformed plastic shelters into small brick houses. Over the years, Porta Farm evolved into a stable community with clinics, primary and secondary schools, pre-schools, and an orphanage. The numbers at Porta Farm increased to about 5 000 in 1993 when some of those evicted, contrary to a court order, from Churu farm settled at Porta Farm. By 2005, the population at Porta Farm had increased to about 12 000 people.


Several times in the past the authorities have tried to move the squatters from Porta Ffarm. In 1991, the Harare City Council threatened to remove the residents. The residents then obtained a provisional High Court interdict prohibiting the Council from evicting them until it had found alternative accommodation with the necessary basic services for them.[13]


In 1995, the Harare City Council again tried to evict the residents. Another High Court provisional order was obtained preventing the demolishing of houses and eviction of the residents.[14]


In August 2004, the Ministry of Local Government then attempted to evict the residents. A High Court order was obtained against the Ministry to prevent the eviction.[15]


In September 2004, the Harare City Council brought an application for an order to evict the people at Porta Farm. The court refused to grant the order, saying the 1995 High Court order had not been discharged and was still operative.[16]


At 6.00 am, on the morning of 27 June 2005, the police distributed flyers informing the residents that they would be moved to Caledonia farm the following day, so they should pack their belongings. The next morning demolitions of shacks and houses started, an hour after lawyers representing residents had served the Government with a letter reminding it of the November 2004 court order. The police were shown copies of the 1995 and 2004 orders, but they ignored them. The residents reported that the police responded by saying that ”they were not in a classroom and that they could not read, and that they were not going to obey any court orders as they are acting on orders from above”. After the evictions started, an interdict was obtained from the Norton Magistrates Court to try to stop the evictions.[17] This interdict was also ignored.


It is alleged that that three, or possibly four, people died at the Porta Farm as a result of the evictions. A pregnant woman allegedly died when she fell from a truck on which she was being taken away, a five-year-old boy was allegedly run over by a truck, and a terminally ill woman allegedly died when being bundled into a moving truck.[18]


After the police had acted in violation of the court orders, the lawyers for the residents sought to obtain an order holding the police and the City Council Commission and the Ministry of Local Government in contempt. Without giving any reasons, the judge refused to grant this order.[19] It is difficult to see on what possible basis the contempt order was refused.


On 29 June 2005, the UN Special Envoy’s team visited Porta Farm, and witnessed the demolitions and the transportation of residents to Caledonia Farm. The mission said it was shocked by the brutality it witnessed. The next day, the Special Envoy visited Porta farm again, and saw what she described as a serious humanitarian crisis with around 1000 evictees sleeping out in the open.


Many of the evicted people had nowhere else to live, so they started to return to Porta Farm, and a large number of people were living among the ruins of their demolished houses. However, on the morning of 23 July 2005, the police returned to Porta Farm. The ruins of the houses were bulldozed to ensure that they could not provide any remaining shelter for the people. The police told the people that they had to leave the farm by that evening, informing them that they would be back with police dogs to ensure that they had all left. One 65-year man told the press that “They broke our houses, and we ran away, but we came back because we have nowhere else to go. I have been here since I was a child. I have no rural home. I am looking after five grandchildren here because my daughter died. I have no rural home, I want to fix the house they destroyed and live here. Help us please.”[20]


Displaced persons in Bulawayo


A series of episodes, during July, in Bulawayo, graphically illustrate the extreme callousness of the police in relation to displaced persons.


Various churches were giving shelter and food to several hundred people whose homes had been destroyed. The police then descended on the churches at dawn, forcibly removed many of the people, and took them to a holding camp on a farm outside Bulawayo, called Helensvale. This place had almost no facilities. Barely twenty-four hours after they had been taken to this camp, the police came to the holding camp, forcibly removed the inhabitants, and dumped them in various rural areas. Some street kids previously housed at a church were taken and dumped some 20 kilometres outside Bulawayo. The police must have been under orders to clear the holding camp without delay. Little or no consideration was given to the welfare of these destitute people rendered homeless just a few weeks ago, or to their chances of finding shelter, food, water or other amenities in the famine stricken areas where they were dumped.


One of the peoplerson’s dumped in the rural area said he had no family in the area where he was deposited, nor did he have any prospect of finding accommodation or employment there. It is likely that the same applied to many of the other people affected. A human rights activist said, “People have been told that if they don’t provide the name of a rural area to which they can go, they will be imprisoned. People born outside Zimbabwe are told that they will be sent to a farm in the Mashonaland province and will never be allowed to leave it. Or they are told they will be dropped in the Zambezi River.” [21]


Back to the beginning in Hatcliffe Extension


The large settlement at Hatcliffe Extension in Harare was targeted as part of Operation Murambatsvina. Houses and other shelters were destroyed. In a quite remarkable development, the Ggovernment then turned around and decided that Hatcliffe Extension would be transformed into a new housing project. It then allocated the stands to most of the same people whose dwellings it had previously destroyed and then evicted![22] . It invited the stand holders to build on the stands, and told them that they would be permitted to build temporary structures in the meantime. The Ggovernment provided only asbestos sheets to build shacks. So the people affected have come full circle. Those who had temporary dwellings at Hatcliffe are now being permitted to construct temporary dwellings. Those who had more substantial brick buildings now have to start from scratch with temporary structures.

After the closing of the holding camp at Caledonia Farm in July, many of the families have now moved back to their former stands at Hatcliffe Extension. However, some of the people at Caledonia have been taken by trucks and dumped in various rural areas.

Bulldozing of MDC offices in Kwekwe

On 27 July 2005, the Kwekwe offices of the main opposition party, the MDC, which are located in this Midlands town, were destroyed by bulldozers under the watchful eye of more than 50 heavily armed policemen accompanied by Kwekwe council officials. The building was purchased five years ago by the party and was being used as the party offices for Midlands Province.[23]


            Suspension of the Mutare mayor


When the UN Special Envoy visited Mutare, she was taken to a camp where displaced people were living under very poor conditions. The Provincial Governor, who is a member of ZANU PF, allegedly tried to prevail upon the Mutare mayor, who is a member of the MDC, to delay the Special Envoy’s visit to this camp until people had been removed from the camp, and the camp had been cleaned up. The mayor did not follow these instructions, but instead took the Special Envoy to the camp so that she could see for herself the deplorable conditions under which the displaced persons were living.


Subsequently, this mayor and three other council officials were suspended for alleged “financial indiscipline”, allegations that they flatly deny. The MDC has issued a statement alleging that these suspensions are blatant retribution for the action of the mayor in revealing to the Special Envoy the bad conditions at the holding camp.[24]




Discrimination in the allocation of new housing


Vice President Msika has declared that Government they would build houses for whoever needed them, and would not discriminate in the allocation of housing on the basis of party political affiliation. However, there have already been reports that members of the main opposition party are being discriminated against. In one report from Bulawayo, it is alleged that the non-Constituency Member of Parliament representing ZANU PF has been tasked with compiling the list of beneficiaries for the Bulawayo area, and that the list he had drawn up was full of ZANU PF supporters and excluded MDC supporters.[25]


            Continued arrests of vendors


Contrary to the Ggovernment abiding by the recommendations of the UN Special Envoy, and the Govenrment’s own statement that Operation Murambatsvina has ceased, the ZRP continue to arrest vendors.  A recent newspaper report indicated that the ZRP are arresting more than 200 people daily. Quoting police spokesperson, Edmore Veterai, the report stated that “teams of police were patrolling the streets of Harare, and are scoring successes against criminals”. It is clear that desperate citizens are being forced back into informal trade in order to survive, but the state continues to criminalise these people.[26]


The failure of the courts to dispense justice


Resort was had to the courts to try to prevent or stop the various forms of illegal action being perpetrated in the name of Operation Murambatsvina. Regrettably, apart from in one case in Goromonzi, the courts have conspicuously failed the litigants. One particularly glaring example of this failure is the High Court decision in the case brought by members of a housing co-operative in Harare. This case was referred to in our previous report. Essentially, although the judge says that the forced displacements caused untold suffering, and that the hardships could have been avoided by giving the people affected adequate notice to relocate, remarkably he found that the evictions were lawful. This was despite the fact that the evictions had taken place well before the notice period actually given to the people had expired!


Although, in the Porta Farm case, the evictions had taken place in defiance of court orders, the High Court again failed the litigants by failing to hold the police and others involved in contempt. In a Bulawayo case, a judge due to hear a legal challenge to the evictions ducked the case, saying he was unable to hear it due to pressure of other work. Such cases lead to a lack of confidence that the court will dispense justice. They are also symptomatic of a breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. The UN Special Envoy comments on this matter in these terms at p 62:


“There is general concern that the High Court’s failure to safeguard the right of the victims of the Operation reaffirms the argument that the Zimbabwean Judiciary has generally failed to act and been seen to act as custodians of human rights in Zimbabwe and that there has been a regrettable failure by members of the Bench to remain independent from the national and local politics of the day. The general view among many stakeholders is that this has had a severe impact on the rule of law and the administration of justice, and has caused the ordinary person on the street to lose faith in achieving justice through legal channels.”


By contrast with the Zimbabwe courts, the South African courts have taken a position under the South African Constitution that protects the poor against arbitrary eviction. In a recent case, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled against the Port Elizabeth MuncipalityMunicipality evicting 68 families who were squatting on private land[27].  In a unanimous judgment, Justice Sachs emphasised the importance of interpreting and applying the above provisions in the light of historically created landlessness in South Africa. He stressed the need for dealing with homelessness in a sensitive and orderly manner, and the special role of the courts in managing complex and socially stressful situations. Municipalities must show equal accountability to occupiers and land owners. Ordinarily, justice and equity would require that all reasonable steps be taken to procure a mediated solution before an eviction order is made.


As Justice Sachs commented:

 “It is not only the dignity of the poor that is assailed when homeless people are driven from pillar to post in a desperate quest for a place where they and their families can rest their heads. Our society as a whole is demeaned when state action intensifies rather than mitigates their marginalization. The integrity of the rights based vision of the Constitution is punctured when governmental action augments rather than reduces denial of the claims of the desperately poor to the basic elements of a decent existence. Hence the need for special judicial control of a process that is both socially stressful and potentially conflictual”[28].


Here, it is also relevant to point out the recommendations of the Committee on the Economic, Social and Cultural Covenant of the UN[29].


The Committee points out that, even when evictions are unavoidable, there should be certain procedural guarantees, as follows:



In the case of Operation Murambatsvina, it would appear that the Zimbabwe Government has violated each and every one of these recommendations.


However, in a recent development, saving the face of the judiciary, Justice Cheda of the Bulawayo High Court ruled that the conduct of the ZRP in destroying shacks and buildings, and in confiscating goods from vendors, was unlawful.

"This conduct on the part of the police was unlawful. Police
are empowered to enforce the law but can only do so within the confines of
the law and not outside it. The indiscriminate and wanton destruction as
described by applicant and not denied by first and second respondents cannot
be allowed."[30]


Rebuilding after destroying


At the end of June, the Ggovernment announced the end of Operation Murambatsvina and the launch of the Z$3 trillion Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (‘Stay well’).

A number of things need to be said about this new programme.

Firstly, international law provides that people should not be evicted from their homes until alternative accommodation is made available for them. In Zimbabwe, large numbers of homes were destroyed when no such alternative accommodation had been provided. Some displaced persons were taken to holding camps such as Caledonia and Helensvale, where there were almost no facilities and the conditions were deplorable. Many others had to sleep out in the open in freezing weather, and many more were simply dumped in rural areas, with no regard being paid to their welfare.

Secondly, Operation Garikai was apparently not conceived prior to the commencement of Operation Murambatsvina. No budget had been provided for Operation Garikai and frantic efforts had to be found to find some money to commence this Operation. It appears to have been hastily formulated as an afterthought in order to give the impression that, right from the start, there had been a “noble” objective to ensure that people no longer would live in squalor, but instead they would have decent accommodation. If this indeed had been the objective right from the beginning, surely houses would have been built first before demolishing the only shelter that people had. It is totally insensitive to render people homeless and then promise to give them decent accommodation at some indefinite time in the future.

Finally, there is considerable scepticism as to whether the huge sums of money will be found to build all the houses necessary to replace the destroyed dwellings of people. With an estimated domestic debt of Z$12 trillion, and this debt rising a the rate of, conservatively, Z$1 trillion a month[31], it is extremely unlikely that the Zimbabwe government will be able to finance re-building on the scale that they claim is needed, never mind the scale that is estimated to be the actual need in the wake of Operation Murambatsvina. In any event, the whole idea of embarking upon such an expensive venture at a point in time when the economy is in dire straits[32] is highly questionable. By comparison with many other countries, the size of the problem of urban slums in Zimbabwe was relatively small and certainly did not justify the brutal Operation Murambatsvina campaign.

Context of Operation


The designation of the campaign as “Operation Murambatsvina” is very revealing.


Firstly, the use of the term “operation” is apposite, given the fact that the campaign was carried out in military fashion. The police were armed with firearms and riot-control equipment. They used heavy-handed tactics, on occasion using teargas, assaulting, threatening to assault people, or threatening to use police dogs against them. “Murambatsvina” means to clean up or sweep away dirt or filth, but it was people and their livelihoods that were swept away. The people against whom these brutal tactics were employed were unarmed civilians, amongst whom there were men, women, children, babies, elderly people, and sick people.


Far from the people feeling a sense of “joy”[33] because, at some indefinite time in the future, they might be provided with decent accommodation, they were miserable as a result of being rendered homeless and jobless.


As the UN Special Envoy comments at p.31, “Politically, the Operation has exacerbated an already tense and polarized climate characterized by mistrust and fear.” Whilst this is entirely correct, it needs to emphasised that Operation Murambatsvina is not an isolated event when viewed in the context of the events that have occurred in Zimbabwe since 1980. This is by no means the first time that large-scale military style campaigns have taken place. There have been a series of Murambatsvina-like events in the past.


Since it came to power in 1980, the ruling party has been in an almost perpetual revolutionary mode, and has been constantly “at war” with one sector of the Zimbabwean community or another. Targets have included the people of Matebeland, political opponents, the intelligentsia, the independent press, white farmers, farm workers, and the urban poor.


It has embarked on many radical actions with little consideration as to the drastic adverse consequences of these actions. These actions have resulted in many human rights abuses and great suffering. In the nineteen eighties, the people of Matabeleland were subjected to the infamous Gukuruhundi campaign, where several thousand people were massacred by the National Army and innumerable people were injured or tortured[34]. In the late nineteen nineties, there were widespread human rights abuses during and after the occurrence of food riots[35]. From 2000 onwards, the Government orchestrated massive-scale land invasions that ultimately resulted not only in the displacement of most white commercial farmers, but also in the violent ejection from the farms of many thousands of farm workers.[36] The entire land reform programme took place without adequate planning and has severely undermined the entire commercial farming sector.


Thus, it is clear that Operation Murambatsvina is merely one of a series of serious violations of human rights that have taken place under the ZANU PF Ggovernment of Robert Mugabe. Since 1998, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has made continuous representation to the Zimbabwe Government, as well as international bodies, but these representations have been wholly disregarded. Furthermore, as will be seen below, the Zimbabwe Government has also paid scant regard to even international bodies.


The Zimbabwe Government’s adherence to international standards


Below we detail briefly a number of instances in which the Zimbabwe Government has allegedly been in breach of international agreements, and ignored the recommendations of international bodies.


            The Commonwealth

The engagement by the Commonwealth on the crisis in Zimbabwe should leave no one in any doubt that the Zimbabwe Government does not take its obligations to international agreements seriously. Following the land invasions and a disputed Parliamentary election in 2000, the Commonwealth attempted to resolve the crisis, mainly by focusing on the land problem. This led to a high-level meeting of various Commonwealth government ministers in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2001. The Abuja Agreement was reached in Nigeria on 8 September 2001. This Agreement seemed to mark a significant development in addressing the crisis in Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe agreed to its terms and the ZANU (PF) Politburo accepted it in principle. The Zimbabwean Government, however, made no clear public statement indicating its complete acceptance of the Agreement.


The Abuja Agreement committed the Zimbabwe Government to do the following:

§           To “take firm action against violence and intimidation”;

§           To comply with the standards contained in the Harare Declaration and the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme;

§           To observe human rights, the rule of law, transparency and democratic principles;

§           To take a series of confidence-building measures that will lead to immediate and observable changes in the domestic situation.


After the signing of the Abuja Agreement, there was immediate doubt as to whether the Zimbabwe Government was sincere in its commitment to take various measures to build confidence amongst all sectors of Zimbabwean society. When a delegation of SADC Presidents arrived on a follow - up mission, the Government of Zimbabwe prevented several important civil society groupings from meeting with and giving testimony to the SADC Presidents. Even more worrying was the statement reportedly made by Zimbabwe’s Information Minister on 25 September that there was no condition in the AbujuAbuja Agreement requiring the Government to put a stop to violence on farms[37].


A subsequent  Human Rights Forum report – Complying with the Abuja Agreement: Two Months Report - examined the Zimbabwe Government’s compliance with the Abuja Agreement two months on[38].


As indicated in this second report, there was no credible evidence that the violence had ceased, either on the commercial farms, or in the country generally. The evidence also indicated that there was no significant reduction in the perpetration of gross human rights generally. As regards credible attempts by the Government to adhere to principles of democracy, transparency and human rights, the evidence suggested rather that the Government was taking steps inimical to such principles agreed at Abuja. Thus, the Forum concluded that only conclusion that could be drawn was that the Zimbabwe Government had no serious intention to adhere to the Abuja Agreement in any of its aspects. The actions of the Government suggested that it intended to hold elections against a background of organized violence and torture and, furthermore, to hold elections within a framework that was inimical to common standards for free and fair elections.


The final phase of the process around the Commonwealth and the Zimbabwe Government’s adherence to the Harare Declaration ended with the Zimbabwe Government resigning from the Commonwealth in 2003[39]. Over this three-year period, the Zimbabwe Government showed no sign ever of adhering to the agreement to which it had voluntarily signed in 2001, and indeed all the evidence demonstrated that it had violated virtually every term of the Abuja Agreement. Its final step was to withdraw from the Commonwealth when it became apparent that it would be suspended.


Conformity with UN Standards


It is not only in respect of the Commonwealth that it can be seen that the Zimbabwe Government fails to take its international obligations seriously; the Government has also disregarded the UN itself.


The first example relates to the Food Riots in 1998, the first serious disturbance in Zimbabwe for more than a decade. Sparked by the wide dissatisfaction at rapid increases in prices, citizens across Zimbabwe erupted in protests, provoking a violent response from the State. The human rights NGOs in Harare swung into action, following the many reports of human rights violations, and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (The(Human Rights Forum) was formed. This group, a loose alliance of NGOs, provided assistance to detainees, persons complaining of human rights violations and ill-treatment, and produced a report on the riots — Human Rights in Troubled Times: An Initial Report on Human Rights Abuses During and After Food Riots in January 1998[40]  — which was forwarded to the President and Parliament in support of the request for an the setting up independent commission of inquiry to investigate these events.


There was no response from either the President or parliamentarians, and thus the Human Rights Forum took the step of lobbying the UN Human Rights Committee at its meeting to consider the implementation by Zimbabwe of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. When the Committee produced its final report in September 1998, it made a strong statement endorsing the call by the Forum ZHRNF for an independent commission of inquiry. The UN Committee made two specific recommendations in respect of the Food Riots:


16. The Committee expresses its concern over recent reports of excessive use of force by the police and the army during food riots in 1998. The Committee urges that all cases of alleged excessive use of force committed by members of the police or the army be investigated by an independent and impartial body, that action be taken against those officers found to have committed abuses and that compensation be paid to the victims; the State party should report to the Committee thereon. Intensive training and education programmes in the field of human rights for members of the army and law enforcement officials are recommended. The Committee urges that the list of situations in which the use of lethal force is allowed under domestic law be reduced.


30. The Committee requests the State party to ensure the wide dissemination in Zimbabwe of the Covenant, the State party report and the Committee's concluding observations.


When there was no response from the Zimbabwe Government, the  Human Rights Forum issued a second and more comprehensive report, calling on the Government to adhere to the recommendations on the UN Human Rights Committee. Again there was no substantive response from the Government, and the Forum was forced to undertake civil litigation on behalf of the victims. The courts upheld the claims of the plaintiffs in most cases, but, as far as the Forum has been able to establish, no disciplinary action has been taken against any of the perpetrators and no offender has been prosecuted. Thus, the recommendations of the Human Rights Committee were wholly ignored.


The Zimbabwe Government has also wholly ignored the recommendations of the United Nations in respect of Chief Inspector Henry Dowa. Chief Inspector Dowa was alleged to have been involved in torture in the course of his duties in the Law and Order Section of the Zimbabwe Republic Police[41]. He was seconded to UNMIK in 2003, and, when this was discovered, the Redress Trust made application to UNMIK for this arrest and prosecution[42]. UNMIK declined to do this, and repatriated Dowa to Zimbabwe, with a request that the Zimbabwe Government undertake an investigation into Dowa and prosecute him if the allegations were substantiated. This has not happened, and there have been subsequent reports of Dowa’s involvement in further torture. Once again the Zimbabwe Government has shown contempt for the United Nations and has failed to honour its obligations under the international instruments to which it voluntarily became a party.


Zimbabwe, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the African Union


Zimbabwe was a member of the Organisation of African Unity, and subsequently became a founding member of the African Union in 2002. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights undertook a fact-finding mission to the Republic of Zimbabwe from 24th to 28th June 2002.


The report of the fact-finding mission was subsequently submitted to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and thereafter to the African Union. Throughout this process the Zimbabwe Ggovernment vehemently denied the findings of the fact-finding mission, vilified its members and the NGO community that had made representation to the mission, and sought by all means to delay or avoid any discussion of the report in the councils of the African Union. There is a very similar to the response by the Zimbabwe Government of the report on Operation Murambatsvina by the UN Special Envoy.


Thus, instead of taking a positive and responsible attitude to its obligations under international and regional instruments, to which it had voluntarily acceded, the Zimbabwe Government has always denied the allegations, sought to delay discussion, and avoided taking any action. This again does not augur well for its response to the report of the UN Special Envoy.




Throughout the years, the Zanu PF Government has displayed complete intolerance towards any political opposition, and has waged an ongoing campaign of violent suppression against opposition leaders, office bearers, and supporters. When a strong opposition party emerged in the late nineteen nineties, its violence against the opposition greatly intensified. Many political opponents have been assaulted or tortured, many of their houses and families have been attacked and many have been arrested and incarcerated on bogus charges[43].


The ruling party has thus created crisis after crisis with its brutal and repressive actions, actions usually aimed at smashing opposition and strengthening the autocratic grip on power. In other words, these man-made crises result from bad governance and anti-democratic tendencies. Whenever these wounds are inflicted on the community, the international community is then expected to help clean up the mess and to treat the wounds. What Zimbabweans desperately need is that the wounds are not inflicted in the first place. In other words, what is needed is the restoration of true democracy in which the Ggovernment is responsive to the people’s needs, and avoids engaging in actions that are palpably detrimental to the interests of the people. What the Zimbabwean people need is a Ggovernment that respects and abides by the rule of law and does not inflict unnecessary suffering upon its own people.


Whilst it is arguable that on its own the inhumanity of Operation Murambatsvina does not constitute a crime against humanity under the Rome statute, it is strongly arguable that, in combination, the whole succession of repressive measures taken by the Zimbabwean Ggovernment over a number of years do constitute a crime against humanity. Even if this argument cannot be sustained, what is certain is that gross human rights abuses have been committed by the Government, and, in recent years, when called upon to do so, the courts have often failed to provide redress in respect of these abuses.



Further statements by local non-governmental organisations and others on Operation Murambatsvina.



Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights

Appeal to the Zimbabwe Medical Association, the South African Medical Association, other national medical associations in Southern Africa and worldwide, Health and Human Rights organisations, and the World Medical Association

The tragic deaths of three people, including two children (a 4 year old and an 18 month old baby) during the forced destruction of dwellings at Porta Farm on the outskirts of Harare on the 30th June serves to confirm the ruthless nature of Operation Murambatsvina. To date at least eight deaths have been confirmed nationwide.

In the intervening 14 years Porta Farm evolved into a stable community with clinics, primary and secondary schools, preschools and even an orphanage. This community was obliterated in the space of a day. In clear violation of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children, together with the families caring for them, have joined the thousands already deprived of shelter, education and health care by Operation Murambatsvina.  Seven hundred primary school pupils, 150 of whom were about to write their Grade 7 examination, and 183 secondary school students have been forced to abandon their education, in addition to an estimated 300,000 children similarly affected countrywide.

ZADHR’s particular concern for health leads us to emphasise the manifest and predictable effects of Murambatsvina in terms of

(1)           the likelihood of further deaths due to arbitrary physical trauma, as incurred this week in Porta Farm, as a result of the thoughtless violence of the demolition methods,

(2)           deaths due to exposure and hypothermia among already vulnerable children, chronically ill adults and the elderly, forced to live through nights in the open at the coldest time of the year,

(3)           the spread of infectious disease due to the lack of proper sanitation or water supply for hundreds of thousands of people,

(4)           the generation of ideal conditions for the spread of epidemic disease (eg cholera and typhoid) from those directly affected into the general population,

(5)           the increase in incidence of malnutrition due to the breakdown of food supplies as family income generation methods are destroyed, in a context in which basic foodstuffs are already at a premium,

(6)           the exacerbation of the HIV epidemic as community structures are fractured and dispersed and the vulnerability of women, adolescents and children to sexual exploitation is magnified,

(7)           the inevitable emergence of widespread drug-resistant HIV as treatment programmes are disrupted.

Since the arrival in Zimbabwe of the UN envoy, UN-Habitat Executive Director Anna Kagumulo Tibaijuka, to investigate Operation Murambatsvina, the government has attempted to recast the destruction as a facet of a long-planned national housing scheme and subsequently announced plans for the immediate construction of thousands of new homes to replace those destroyed, Operation Garikayi (good living). This is completely devoid of credibility. Disregarding the fact that Zimbabwe is effectively bankrupt and has no capacity to implement an enterprise of this scale, there was no public announcement or record of such a plan prior to the unleashing of Operation Murambatsvina. Any government with even the most basic concern for the welfare of its citizens would have ensured that replacement housing was in place prior to the destruction of existing dwellings and that such an exercise was carried out in a phased and orderly manner.

The speciousness of the government claim is further evidenced by the total lack of preparedness of the key Ministries of Health, Social Welfare and Education to respond to the ensuing humanitarian and health crisis. It is clear that these ministries were not even consulted let alone involved in any planning process.

ZADHR calls upon the Zimbabwe Medical Association, the South African Medical Association and other regional medical associations to apply whatever influence they have, in whatever quarters, to seek an immediate end to Murambatsvina and the initiation of appropriate measures to reverse its catastrophic effects.


UN Press Release

The Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons issued the following statement today:

The Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Professor Walter Kälin, today called for recognition of the evictions in Zimbabwe as a situation of massive internal displacement.

"What has been suspected has now become clear following the report of the Secretary-General's Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka last Friday: in Zimbabwe we are facing a situation of massive internal displacement", Mr Kälin said.

The Envoy's report, issued last Friday, cited 2,460 homes destroyed, within a matter of weeks, affecting an estimated 569,685 people.

"Destruction of homes and forced movement of people on such a scale comes squarely within the definition of internal displacement, which covers people forced to leave their homes to avoid human rights violations and other disasters, whether human-made or natural". "What underscores the tragedy", the Representative added, "is that this crisis has been, from the start, entirely avoidable".

"The Zimbabwean Government's action is incompatible with international law in many respects", the Representative said. The UN's Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement set forth the rights of internally displaced persons under international law and the obligations of States. "These Principles", the Representative stated, "are based upon and reflect human rights obligations also accepted by Zimbabwe". They protect against arbitrary displacement in the first place and require due process, adequate notice, appropriate relocation and minimisation of adverse effects. They also require appropriate provision of the necessities of life to displaced persons, protection of their property, as well as offer voluntary choices to displaced persons as to where they will return. "On each and every of these points, the Government of Zimbabwe has fallen far short of its obligations".

The Representative called on the Government of Zimbabwe and the United Nations presence in Zimbabwe to respond urgently to the needs of the internally displaced. "What has already happened cannot be undone. What is now critical is that swift action be taken to protect the rights


of the displaced - they are entitled to proper shelter, food, water and health care, and equal access to education for their children. They also have the right under international law to compensation for the loss of lawful possessions, and to freely choose their future place of residence". The Representative was confident that with rapid action on the part of the United Nations in conjunction with the Government of Zimbabwe, "ongoing violations of human rights on the massive scale we have witnessed can be quickly brought to an end, and the task of putting people's lives back together again can begin. The half-million displaced deserve, and are under law entitled to, no less than that".


Statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights entitled Report of United Nations Special Envoy Welcomed


Dated 27 July 2005


Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) welcomes the report of the UN Special Envoy on Human Settlements Issues in Zimbabwe and considers it a vindication of the concerns raised by all right-minded sectors of civil society against the unlawful conduct of the state authorities during the course of Operation Murambatsvina and Operation Restore Order.


Mrs Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka confirmed that the Operations had commenced without warning, were carried out “in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering” affected some 700 000 people (directly) and a further 2.4 million people (indirectly) around the country, and precipitated “a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions”.


The Report concludes that the Government bears collective responsibility for actions which disregarded several provisions of national and international law, and was”basedwas “based on a set of colonial-era laws and policies that were used as a tool of segregation and social exclusion”. It recommends that those responsible be brought to account and that reparations be made to those who have lost their property and livelihoods.


In particular ZLHR notes and supports the following recommendations made by the UN Special Envoy:

Ø       That the government should immediately halt any further demolitions and create conditions for sustainable relief and reconstruction

Ø       That the government should immediately revise the Regional Town and Country Planning Act and other relevant statutes to ensure they conform to recognised international human rights standards and do not negatively impact on economic, social and cultural rights of those affected by their implementation

Ø       That the government bears collective responsibility for the violations that have occurred, that they should bring to account those responsible for the violations suffered due to the implementation of the Operations, and should pay compensation to those whose property was unlawfully destroyed, seized and auctioned off

Ø       That the government “should set a good example and adhere to the rule of law before it can credibly ask its citizens to do the same

Ø       That monitors should be deployed to observe compliance with human rights standards and reassure communities of the risk of their and rights

Ø       That Zimbabwe be engaged on its “dismal human rights record” in political forums such as the UN Human Rights Commission, the African Peer Review Mechanism and SADC mechanisms.


What should be of particular concern to the government is the fact that the UN Special Envoy was forced to consider whether the violations that occurred and continue to occur as a result of these Operations constituted crimes against humanity. Although the conclusion reached was that it would be difficult to sustain such an allegation at present, the fact that the state authorities have continued with the unlawful actions despite conclusions from national and international bodies that the actions are illegal and should be terminated immediately, may be sufficient to raise the threshold and meet the requirements necessary for successful prosecution of officials for this crime under international law. ZLHR is considering this matter seriously and will continue compiling evidence relating to such a crime.


ZLHR welcomes, although regrettably, the confirmation by the UN Special Envoy that there has been a general deterioration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe and that the judicial system has been “non-responsive” in offering protection where violations have occurred or are occurring. This has been further highlighted in the last few weeks, where we have witnessed court orders being disregarded by state authorities and the judiciary becoming complicit in condoning such a culture of contempt and impunity.


ZLHR has no hesitation in concurring with the Special Envoy’s conclusion that the High Court has failed “to safeguard the right of the victims of the Operation and that there has been a regrettable failure by members of the Bench to remain independent from the national and local politics of the day”.


It is hoped that the government will consider the contents of this well-researched and comprehensive Report with the gravity it deserves, and will act swiftly to implement the recommendations, thus assuring the Zimbabwean nation, as well as the international community, that it takes its responsibilities under national and international law seriously and is committed to the preservation of the rule of law and administration of justice, adherence to minimum international norms and standards, and the economic, social and cultural uplifting of all the people of Zimbabwe.


ZLHR has come reservations on government’s commitment to such a process, in light of the fact that the recommendations have thus far been ignored, and demolitions and destruction of property and livelihoods continues unabated around the country, and in particular at Porta Farm. State authorities can act to reassure the nation by ceasing these human rights violations immediately and publicly asserting their intention to implement all recommendations as a matter of urgency. In addition the Judiciary should consider seriously the implications of the conclusions reached by the UN Special Envoy and act publicly and decisively to assure the nation that they will protect the human rights of all people in Zimbabwe without fear or favour, thus restoring confidence in the justice delivery process.


Statement by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum on the Report on “Operation Murambatsvina” by the UN special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe.


Date:    26 July 2005


The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum welcomes the timeous publication of the report on the recent “Operation Murambatsvina” (Restore Order) by the UN Special Envoy and her team.  The Report records the effects of the humanitarian disaster inflicted on the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the population in the height of winter and purportedly in the interests of arresting disorderly or chaotic urbanization, reversing inappropriate urban agricultural practices and stopping illegal foreign currency dealings.


The Secretary General of the United Nations himself describes “Operation Murambatsvina” as a “catastrophic injustice……carried out indiscriminately and with disquieting indifference to human suffering”.  In her “profoundly distressing report”, the Envoy records that the Operation “render (ed) people homeless and economically destitute on an unprecedented scale” and that “in addition to the already significant pre-existing humanitarian needs, additional needs have been generated on a large scale particularly in the shelter, water, sanitation and health sectors”


The Operation was carried out in a military fashion by the police and army with minimal notification from the authorities and in contravention of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Zimbabwe is a signatory.


An “estimated 700 000 people in cities across the country lost either their homes, their source of livelihood or both”, which has indirectly “affected 2.4 million people… varying degrees”


While the Zimbabwe Government is said to have permitted unfettered access by the Mission to all areas, its response to the report has been characteristically critical, dismissive and accusatorial.


The Human Rights Forum would like to congratulate the Mission on the speed with which the exhaustive report was prepared and the sincerity and professionalism with which the Envoy and her team conducted their wide and energetic consultations with all stakeholders in Zimbabwe.


The Human Rights Forum calls on the Government to implement the recommendations of the Report with the utmost urgency in order to address the humanitarian crisis “Operation Murambatsvina” has left in its wake.






Executive Summary of ActionAid International & Combined Harare Residents’ Association Report on Operation Murambatsvina.


The Harare Operation Murambatsvina Survey represents a unique opportunity to gain ins

ights into the impact of Operation Murambatsvina on communities and households where the Operation was executed since 18 May 2005. This report attempts to give a factual account of the impact Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order. This is done through analysis of the impact at both household level and community level.  


A structured questionnaire was used in the collection of data from 14,137 respondents distributed in 26 affected high density suburbs. The quantitative household survey was designed to collect the following types of information from the interviewed households: 1) household demographics, 2) Livelihood activities affected by the operation, 3) household impact, 4) current coping mechanisms being employed by the communities in response to the operation, 5) assistance communities are currently receiving 6) assistance currently being offered and assistance perceived as required by the communities.


Initially 26 team leaders for each ward were trained on the administration of the questionnaire and sampling procedures. Thereafter, a further 9 researchers were trained by the trained by the team leaders at ward level. Therefore, 260 researchers collected this information over a two day period. At least 500 homesteads were visited during the course of the study. This represents a third of households per ward.  Data collected was entered stored and exported into Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) Version 13. Subsequently, analysis was done to generate frequencies, descriptive and derived variables. 


Socio-demographic data of the sampled wards


1.         At least 3 households stay at one homestead

2.         Average household size is 5.8

3.         Assume the remaining 4 high density residential wards are not different from the other samples wards.

4.         97% of households affected by the operation


Calculation Process:

1.         14,137 households were survey

2.         total population surveyed is 81,995


Based on these figures and assumptions, the following are projected households that were affected by the operation;


Adding the remaining 4 wards – 30/26 * 14,137 = 16,311 households in all 30 wards

Total population affected, households sampled*average household size*average households per homestead*

16,311*5.8*3 = 283 811

However the sample is only a third of the population in the wards. Therefore, the total population would be:

            283 811*3= 851 434


From the data generated from the survey, 97% (n = 13 712) of homesteads visited in the 26 wards were affected by the Operation in varying proportions and different ways. Demographic data for the general population is discussed below:

           Overall population sampled is 81,995 with an average household size of 5.8

           The majority of respondents and household heads were male (56% and 61% respectively)

           The total number of households affected by the operation (which includes; households that lost accommodation, had shelter lost, lost livelihoods, children not attending school as a result) was 97% (13,712) of sampled households. 

           The average age of the head of household is 41 years, with the youngest reported as 12 years old and the oldest as 89 years old. 

           Female household heads are slightly older than male household heads, 43 and 39 years old, respectively. 

           Approximately 12% of homesteads visited are above 60 years (elderly headed) and only 1% (142) were headed by minors (commonly referred to as child headed, below 18 years).

           32% of interviewed households were hosting orphans, whilst a further 13% were hosting at least a chronically ill individual. A minority of 6% were hosting at least a mentally/physically challenged person. 

           As a measure of vulnerability, the analysis classified all households in five categories (see table below). Most households interviewed fall in 3 categories (39%), whilst in 1 category: 15%; 2 categories: 31%; 4 categories: 11% and only 4% in the 5 categories.

           Out of the 14,137 sampled homesteads, 22% of them reported that children were not attending school as a direct result of the Operation.



The household survey inquired on primary sources of income of those affected by the Operation, since secondary information suggests that the Operation has had an adverse effect on the livelihoods.

           AA majority (73%) of urban dwellers were engaged in informal trading  priortrading prior to Operation Murambatvsina/Restore Order from the sample.

           The primary sources of livelihood that have were cited to have been disrupted (73%) as a result of the Operation from the sample include: tuck shop ownership (9%), flea market (11%), fruit and vegetable vending (17%), offering accommodation (18%), cross border trader (6%) and petty trade (5%) such as sale of firewood.

           Unfortunately, the vulnerable strata mentioned earlier were mainly engaged in the informal sector as captured below:


Proportions who were engaged informal and formal sectors:


Informal sector

Formal sector

Female headed households



Child headed households



Households hosting orphans



Households hosting chronically

ill members



Households hosting mentally/physically

challenged persons





Impact of the Operation at household level

The extent to which a households or communities were affected has not been quantified. Scant, inconsistent and at times conflicting information is available on this issue. Therefore as one of the key findings of the survey, it was to explore and detail what it is that households lost during the exercise. This are discussed below:



           A majority (76%) of respondents reported that they had lost shelter. Loss of shelter was two fold 1) a tenant being evicted as a result of demolitions, 2) a land lord losing a section of his home as a result of the demolitions.


Source of income

           Overall, 79% of interviewed households reported that they had lost their sources of income. This figure is similar to the 73% that had lost sources of income (livelihoods) as a direct result of the Operation. The increase may be attributable to multiple sources of income that households are engaged in to ameliorate vulnerability.

           Strikingly this generally affected all households in the same proportion. 


Education for children

The welfare of children especially in terms of their ability to attend school is a basic fundamental right, was affected by the operation.

           School drop out was reported to be 22%. However, 45% of households interviewed reported that they were at a precarious position in funding and accessing schools for their children, currently and in future. This may be a clear indication on the future prospects of school enrolment for children in the near future.



           Forty five percent (45%) of homesteads visited reported that they had incurred losses of property. Unfortunately, the survey was not able to quantify in Zimbabwean dollar value what it was exactly the affected communities had lost and also the nature of the property.


Deterioration in health

           It is sad to note that slightly over 20% of people interviewed, attributed the deterioration of health of their loved ones as a direct result of the operation.


Food security

           Approximately, 60% of households sampled claimed that they had become food insecure as a consequence of the Operation. Being urban areas, most of the food supply to the family is sourced from the market. Little or no food finds its way from the rural areas if a family has rural linkages exists. 


Household safety and security

Household safety and security was defined as the family ability to protect and safe guard its assets (physical) and from exploitation.

           Almost half (49%) of the homesteads reported that this indicator had been compromised as a result of the operation.


Disruption of family unit

Housing waiting list runs into hundreds of thousands in Harare and all other urban areas in Zimbabwe. Sharing of homesteads and extension of houses was a way in which Harareans sought to mitigate the accommodation problem.

           More than 75% of the respondents reported losing shelter.

           It is worrying to note that over 40% of homesteads visited reported that family units had been disrupted as a result of the operation. Mostly children and spouses had been relocated back to the rural homesteads if this was plausible.


Women status and dignity

Humiliation and loss of dignity as a direct result of the operation was also reported. Prior to the demolition exercise, it is reported and accounted by respondents that the authorities would move around marking what they deemed as illegal structures using paint. The marked buildings were to be destroyed. Such actions resemble a war situation. This is witnessed by 39% of the interviewed homesteads claiming that they had lost their dignity as a result of the Operation.



Increased vulnerability for women and children

It is saddening to note that 37% of the interviewed homesteads acknowledged that women and children had become more vulnerable to abuse as a consequence of the Operation. Furthermore, a high proportion of these were from female-headed households.


Psychologically affected (traumatised)

Almost 40% of respondents interviewed claimed that they had been traumatized by the graphic, detailed and heavy handedness of the implementers of the Operations. From the analysis done, this was generally the same across board. Despite the low proportion of child headed households, this seemed to be reported in 82% of child headed households.


Coping mechanisms adopted by households

           Currently, only 37% households reported that they were using their own resources to sustain the family.

           A further 22% claimed to be getting assistance from relatives, whilst government, community based organizations and non-governmental organizations accounted for a mere 6%.

           More importantly is the realization that 35% of households were not managing at all. In this bracket, the majority were child- and women headed households accounting for 76% of the responses.


Assistance currently being received

Of those that reported receiving assistance from the various sources, the following categories are the nature of assistance being received; food (17%), shelter (15%), monetary (8%), education for children (7%), relocation (5%), psycho-social support (5%) and legal help (4%). This clearly suggests that there are major gaps in the support that is being offered to the communities.


Perceived assistance required

Table clearly demonstrates the areas that when cited by respondents. From the preceding paragraphs, it has been documented that major support gaps are in existence in the 26 wards.


Proportion of assistance required



Area of need

Proportion (%)











Legal help


Monetary (financial help)


Psycho-social support





The range of recommendations presented in the report is mentioned in summary form below.  These are aimed at those involved and responding to the crisis. Policy analysis is urgent and will be subsequent to this report.


General Recommendations:-


1.         There is urgent need to resolve the accommodation/ shelter question for all affected families.

2.         Urgent restoration of livelihoods for affected families should be prioritised to ensure recovery and long term sustainability of income for affected communities.

3.         There is urgent need to grant and guarantee access to appropriate treatment and quality care for people living with HIV/AIDS.

4.         There is urgent need to conduct an in-depth national survey to better inform responses and to develop a commonly agreed national data set of the current situation.

5.         There is urgent need to scale up the national response and meet the needs of the affected families.

6.         There is need to consolidate the different coordination processes and ensure the meaningful sharing of information and activities by all stakeholders involved.

7.         Need for urgent donor commitment for additional support to affected communities.

8.         Urgent need to create awareness on the impact, extent and effects of the operation on affected communities.

[1]  As reported in The Herald 28 July 2005

[2] The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights undertook a fact finding mission to Zimbabwe in June 2002 on the invitation of the Zimbabwean Government. It will be recalled that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights undertook a fact-finding mission to theZimbabwe from 24th to 28th June 2002. The mission was authorised by the African Commission because of reports of widespread human rights violations in Zimbabwe. The fact-finding mission found that such abuses had indeed taken place. The Government of Zimbabwe rejected this report and vilified the fact-finding mission.


[3]  A senior ZANU (PF) MP and deputy minister made the startling assertion in Parliament that displaced urban dwellers should suffer because they are not “indigenous”. This was reported in an article in Business Day on 6 July 2005.

[4]  Cape Times 7 July 2005.

[5]  See page 25 of the report of the Special Envoy, as well as Footnote 44, where it is commented:

   “ UNHABITAT: Slums of the World: The Face of Urban Poverty in the New Millennium, 2003. Slums are  defined by the United Nations as settlements which are lacking one or more of the following: secure tenure, access to improved water, access to improved sanitation, durability of dwelling, and sufficient space to avoid over-crowding. Most of the Zimbabwean backyard extensions could not be considered or captured by this definition as slums, thus the low figure.”


[6]   The ActionAid report has now been updated through a more comprehensive national study. The study confirms and extends the findings of the previous report on Harare. See A Study on the impact of “OPERATION MURAMBATSVINA/RESTORE ORDER” in Zimbabwe, ActionAid International – Southern Africa Partnership Programme (SAPP-ZIMBABWE) in collaboration with Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), August 2005.

[7]   A Study on the Impact of “Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order” in 26 Wards of HarareHigh Density Housing Areas ActionAid International in Collaboration with Combined Harare Residents Assocation (CHRA) July 2005. See also Appendix B for the Executive Summary of this report.

[8]   Previous work in Zimbabwe with former commercial farm-workers who were internally displaced has shown similar rates of psychological disturbance. A report from the Amani Trust showed a point-prevalence rate for clinically significant psychological disorder of about 80% in the sample seen. Here see AMANI Preliminary Report of a Survey on Internally Displaced Persons from Commercial Farms in Zimbabwe (Harare, Zimbabwe 2002)


[9] IRIN report 25 July 2005


[10] The full text of this statement is reproduced in Appendix A to this report.

[11] A motion in Parliament to condemn the Operation failed because ruling party MPs voted against it.


[12] The fact-finding mission of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights voiced similar comments about government responsibility in 2002. They commented in respect of events up to 2002:

“What we are prepared and able to rule, is that the Government cannot wash its hands from responsibility for all these happenings. It is evident that a highly charged atmosphere has been prevailing, many land activists undertook their illegal actions in the expectation that government was understanding and that police would not act against them – many of them, the War Veterans, purported to act as party veterans and activists. Some of the political leaders denounced the opposition activists and expressed understanding for some of the actions of ZANU (PF) loyalists. Government did not act soon enough and firmly enough against those guilty of gross criminal acts. By its statements and political rhetoric, and by its failure at critical moments to uphold the rule of law, the government failed to chart a path that signalled a commitment to the rule of law.”


[13] High Court 3177 of 1991.

[14] Kuronga and 39 others at Porta Farm v Harare City Council HH-4233 of 1995.

[15] Chiyuku v Minister of Local Government HH-10671 of 2004.

[16] High Court 11041 of 2004.

[17] Norton Magistrates Court Case no 376 of 2005.

[18] Report by Zimbabwe Peace Project 1 July 2005. See also Zimonline 8 July 2005. See also the appeal of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights to other medical associations relating to Operation Murambatsvina.

[19] Chinyuku v Minister of Local Government, Minister of Home Affairs, Commissioner of Police and Chairperson, Harare Commission HH-3225-2005.

[20] Sunday Independent (SA) 24 July 2005.

[21] Sources for the details on this case include Zimonline and Sokwanele.

[22] A list appeared in the Herald carrying giving details of those who had been allocated stands. See the Herald 20 July 2005.


[23] Report from the MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity 27 July 2005.

[24] Statement from the MDC Secretary for Information 23 June 2005.

[25] SW Radio Africa 22 July 2005


[26] See the Mail & Guardian, “Zimbabwe police arresting 200 daily”, 8 August 2005.

[27] See in the Constitutional Court of South Africa , Port Elizabeth Municipality v Various Occupiers CCT 53/03, Decided on 1 October 2004.

[28] See again, Justice Albie Sachs, in the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Port Elizabeth v. Various Occupiers (CCT 53/03).

[29] See General Comment No. 7 of 1997 of the Committee on the Economic, Social and Cultural Covenant of the UN.

[30] See Zimbabwe Independent, 'Police blitz unlawful', 13 August 2005.

[31] This is an estimate from the economics department of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions [ZCTU].

[32] A World Bank director recently said that Zimbabwe’s rapid economic decline over the past six years is likely unprecedented for a country not at war. He attributed the deterioration to poor government policies.

[33] President Mugabe is quoted at having said the people had joy that they would be provided with decent accommodation.

[34] See Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace/ Legal Resources Foundation Breaking the Silence. Building True Peace: A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands, 1980 to 1988 (Harare, Zimbabwe, 1997)

[35] See Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum A Consolidated Report on the Food Riots, 19-23 January 1998, Report compiled by the Amani Trust on behalf of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (Harare, Zimbabwe, 1999)

[36] It is estimated that up to 400 000 farm workers were displaced.


[37] See Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Evaluating the Abuja Agreement  (Harare Zimbabwe 2001).

[38] See Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Evaluating the Abuja Agreement: Two Months Report

 (Harare Zimbabwe 2001).

[39] The Human Rights Forum concluded in its final report on the Abuja Agreement, submitted prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2003 that: “The majority of evidence seems to indicate that the Zimbabwe Government has failed to abide by Commonwealth Principles enshrined in the Harare Declaration, the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme on the Harare Declaration, the Abuja Agreement itself and subsequent communiqués in the form of the Marlborough House Statement on Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Mid-Term Review Statement”.  Here see Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Zimbabwe, the Abuja Agreement and Commonwealth Principles: Compliance or Disregard? 8 September 2003, (Harare Zimbabwe 2003)

[40] See Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, A Consolidated Report on the Food Riots 19—23 January 1998 , HARARE: ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS NGO FORUM.


[41] Torture by the Zimbabwe Republic Police has been reported upon in the past. Here see Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Torture by State Agents in Zimbabwe: January 2001 to August 2002 (Harare Zimbabwe 2003)

[42] See Redress Trust The Case of Henry Dowa: The United Nations and Zimbabwe under the spotlight, January 2004.


[43] See Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (2000), Who is responsible? A preliminary analysis of pre-election violence in Zimbabwe, HARARE: ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS NGO FORUM. See also Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (2001), Who was responsible? A consolidated analysis of pre-election violence in Zimbabwe, HARARE: ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS NGO FORUM. See again Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (2002), “Are They Accountable?: Examining alleged violators and their violations pre and post the Presidential Election March 2002”, HARARE: ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS NGO FORUM.


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 13 September

Surviving Zim's law of expediency

Dianna Games

After two years of declaring that anyone with "unofficial" foreign currency
was an economic saboteur and an enemy of the state, the Zimbabwe government
last month said it would "turn a blind eye" to people buying fuel in hard
currency. In a desperate bid to find new sources of foreign exchange, the
government announced that it would be a case of "no questions asked" for
people taking advantage of a new arrangement between it and selected garages
around the country where fuel, imported by the government, could be bought
for $1 a litre, as long as it was paid for in hard currency. However,
instead of the long queues the government had expected, the response was
lukewarm. "I'm not going anywhere near this situation," said one local.
"They are probably taking down registration numbers so they know who to
arrest when they change the policy." Sure enough, it emerged that Reserve
Bank representatives would be present at the garages, ostensibly to ensure
that the precious US dollars did not go missing. Yet, many believed their
real job was to provide the government with a list of targets for when it
reversed the policy and such people were once more enemies of the state.

In present-day Zimbabwe it is often difficult to know which side of the
government's "law of expediency" you are on, or what to expect the
government to do next. As the crises mount, officialdom has been forced to
find creative solutions to problems, a situation that has resulted in
breathtaking official U-turns and overnight policy shifts. "The government
introduces something one day and a few weeks or months later decides it no
longer likes the idea and either makes it illegal or drops it," said one
businessman. Here are some recent examples: For several years, manufacturers
of certain basic goods have been forced to adhere to strict price controls.
While this resulted in major shortages of such goods, those flouting the
rules were punished. Yet, the finance minister has now declared that price
controls do not work and should be abolished; Earlier this year, the
government announced a 1 000% increase in school fees, insisting it be
backdated to January. Just weeks later, it reversed the backdating order;
For years, the president has called anyone suggesting a devaluation of the
currency a traitor. But he then introduced a range of "special" rates for
exporters, tobacco producers, cotton producers, gold producers and even
diaspora remittances, while maintaining the official rate. In mid-2005, the
government changed its mind and devalued the currency by 70% over just a few
weeks; In August, the government introduced a 10% capital gains tax on the
stock exchange, despite the fact that it abolished the very same tax in
2000, saying it was unworkable.

The government's latest money-making ruse - the introduction of new number
plates - has been subject to a similar reversal. After Zimbabweans paid
Z$30-billion to buy the new mandatory plates, the government decided it
wanted to add the letters ZW to the plates. Motorists now have to go through
the tortuous exercise again. Another tactic is to allow you to get on the
right side of the law - for a price. In the aftermath of Operation
Murambatsvina, the campaign that reduced large "illegal" residential areas
to rubble, the municipal fee for those in wealthier areas, who needed to
"regularise" their house plans with the council to prevent demolition, rose
from Z$5 000 to Z$23-million overnight. It does not help to be close to the
ruling party, as many bankers, targeted for foreign-exchange violations by
their former colleague, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, found out the
hard way. Being close to power means those who implement these policy shifts
are the very ones who are likely to have the most dirt on you if they need
to make an example of people.

How Bob paid the IMF

Naturally, Zimbabweans were concerned when the government announced recently
that it had managed to "find" $170-million to pay the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) in the midst of Zimbabwe's worst foreign-currency crisis in
decades. The exact source of the money is a well-kept secret, although the
rumour mill is in full swing. Gideon Gono's line is that the money came from
"our savings", despite the fact that the country is technically bankrupt,
with no savings to speak of, and inflation was 272% in August, year on year.
There is speculation that the government is "dipping into" the foreign
exchange pool used to fund the twice-weekly auction. The funds are drawn
from exporters' profits, 50% of which must be converted into local currency
at the official rate, which is significantly less than the black-market
rate. Businesses complain that it can take weeks to get currency on the
auction, if at all. The central bank has instituted more visible measures to
raise currency. One of these is the establishment of its own bureaus de
change, despite the fact that two years ago the government closed down all
such bureaus, accusing them of fuelling the black market. Another measure is
deliberately delaying the processing of exporters' requests to repatriate
foreign currency from their hard-currency profits. If the bank does not
approve applications within 21 days of their being submitted, the applicant
is forced to convert the currency into Zimbabwe dollars. Officials hinted at
"generosity" from businesses in the raising of the IMF dues, and there are
suggestions that companies have liquidated some of their precious
foreign-currency holdings in the national interest. Given the shortages,
this would seem to be a crazy notion.

But word in Harare is that the government offered takers a rate of Z$50 000
to $1 to make the exchange, against the official rate of Z$24 520. Another
rumour has it that the hard currency has been borrowed from big platinum,
cotton and tobacco exporters on the basis that it will be repaid to them
when Zimbabwe's ship comes in. If Zimbabwe does not take up the South
African loan, conditions notwithstanding, the harbour might be empty for a
while. Gono has admitted that the promised resources from China will be a
long time coming while Iran, which negotiated a $67-million credit facility
with Zimbabwe's government recently, has started demanding guarantees.
Keeping business going in Zimbabwe is a question of second-guessing the
government. "Once you understand the political machinations, you can
generally get it right," said a Harare banker. But getting it right seems to
depend on just how desperate the government is. It might have managed to
stave off the IMF expulsion, but it is now payback time. Sucking
$170-million out the current Zimbabwe economy was no mean feat - there are a
lot of holes that now need to be plugged. Zimbabweans are bracing
them-selves for the next policy roller-coaster ride.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From SW Radio Africa, 13 September

Soldiers sent home over food shortages

By Lance Guma

Robert Mugabe's grip on power could be threatened by the food crisis that is
now affecting the army. We have reports that junior officers are being sent
home from barracks following the army's failure to feed them. The police
force and the prison service have also been badly affected It is the army
however which has resolved to send soldiers home in batches, away from the
barracks and this is stirring things up. A very angry soldier in
Matabeleland is reported to have shouted obscenities at the leadership after
being told to clear out of barracks and go home. He told our source in
Bulawayo the government is clearly playing with fire as the soldiers have
made their position clear on this directive. It is alleged the army is
failing to provide enough food to feed soldiers in camp and the new strategy
is aimed at relieving the pressure of supply. Several farms supply the army,
police and prisons directly but it would seem from the policy shifts that
these farms cannot supply the total food required. The prison service also
issued notices on the 31st of July allowing friends and relatives to bring
food to prisoners serving time with labour. Previously this was not allowed.
Fears have been expressed that this new prison directive could make it
easier for prisoners to commit suicide or be targeted by fellow gangsters
who would simply bring in poisoned food for them.

From The Cape Argus (SA), 13 September

Mugabe scraps Annan visit to discuss operation 'clean-up'

President Robert Mugabe, who begged UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to visit
Zimbabwe so he could explain why he knocked down nearly a million people's
homes, has withdrawn the invitation. A senior UN source last week confirmed
information circulating in diplomatic circles in Harare that Mugabe has
rescinded the invitation "at this time" and sent a message that he will
catch up with Annan at the General Assembly in New York. UN envoy Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuka spent two weeks in Zimbabwe in June and issued a report
condemning Mugabe's nationwide campaign, Operation Drive out the filth, when
opposition supporters' houses were bulldozed in mid-winter. Her report said
the campaign "was carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner,
with indifference to human suffering". Annan said her report was "profoundly
distressing ... a catastrophic injustice".

Mugabe, furious at the UN's condemnation, responded by immediately
telephoning Annan and inviting him to Zimbabwe so he could explain that the
government planned to build new houses for those it had made homeless. "Why
has Zimbabwe attracted international attention for embarking on a programme
to clean up its urban centres and provide decent houses to those affected by
the operation," Mugabe asked the state-controlled press during his campaign
to publicise his invitation to Annan. The UN suggested that Under
Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari should first travel
to Zimbabwe to assess whether the time was right for Annan's visit. There
were UN fears Mugabe could use Annan's high-profile trip to justify his
policies. The government recently acknowledged that its hastily conceived
building programme failed for lack of resources and only a few dozen
semi-completed core houses have been constructed. So Mugabe withdrew his
invitation a week ago. This reportedly annoyed Annan and the UN which has
been impotent to restrain the Zimbabwe regime's excesses.

Welshman Ncube, secretary-general of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change said: "The invitation to Kofi Annan was never genuine. it was
Mugabe's usual ploy to deflect pressure from his regime at that time. He has
done the same with many organisations such as the Commonwealth and the
African Union. "The UN should have expected this and realise it is dealing
with a dishonest, sly, wicked and illegal regime which has no respect for
integrity." Mugabe also asked the UN to assist running the March general
election, but hastily withdrew the invitation when UN political staff
spelled out the implications of a transparent and internationally supervised
poll. The UN was also prevented from carrying out crop assessments last year
and its World Food Programme was forced to stop feeding Zimbabweans after
Mugabe falsely claimed a record maize crop. Meanwhile, Mugabe on Friday
signed into law constitutional amendments restricting freedom of movement,
undermining property rights and creating a senate.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Fuel crunch forces Zimbabwe capital to black market
      Wed Sep 14, 2005 1:20 PM GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - A crippling fuel crisis has forced authorities in
Zimbabwe's capital to buy diesel from the black market to avert a health
crisis, the official Herald newspaper said on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe has suffered persistent fuel shortages since 1999 -- just one
aspect of a broad economic crisis widely blamed by critics on President
Robert Mugabe's government.

"We have not received diesel for the past four weeks. We are not able to
attend to any sewerage or water pipe bursts because all our vehicles are
grounded," the Herald quoted Nomutsa Chideya, a senior official responsible
for running the city council, as telling a parliamentary committee.

"For the sake of the health of the residents, we would rather buy the fuel
on the parallel market. We will face the consequences later, but at the
moment we have to deal with the situation," Chideya was reported as saying.

Chideya and other council officials were unavailable for immediate comment.

Last week the government doubled fuel prices for the second time in 10
weeks, a decision analysts say will send living costs soaring further.
Annual inflation rose to 265 percent in July, compounding the hardships of
high unemployment and shortages of essential goods.

The fuel crisis has worsened in recent months with many filling stations
running dry for weeks on end and public transport operators forced to pull
vehicles off the road.

Mugabe's government ended a monopoly on fuel imports enjoyed by state firm
NOCZIM in 2002, but private oil industry operators have complained since
that retail prices set by authorities were far below regional levels and
undermined their viability.

Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, denies
mismanaging the economy and insists the country's wealth has been sabotaged
by opponents of his drive to forcibly redistribute white-owned commercial
farms among blacks.
Back to the Top
Back to Index