Zimbabwe government doesn’t care about the poor, vulnerable

via ‘They don’t care about the poor, vulnerable’ – The Standard April 13, 2014 by Walter Marwizi

A picture of 14 children struggling to get a morsel of sadza is hardly an image that we want to see 34 years after independence.

The picture taken at Chief Rusambo’s homestead, deep in Rushinga, Mashonaland Central, and published in this paper last week succinctly portrays how life for the children has been turned upside down after they were evicted from Spelenken farm in Mazowe two months ago.

Food is in short supply and so is shelter at the homestead of the big-hearted chief who has welcomed the families who desperately needed assistance after being dumped there by police.

The sad thing is that three months ago these families were looking forward to a bumper harvest in Mazowe. Little did they know that government had sinister plans to remove them from the area.

We all know the First Family has huge interests in the area, and there are no prizes for guessing who is going to benefit once all the families residing there have been removed.

Unless there was last minute intervention by non-governmental organisations last week, the cold spell that has gripped the country over the past few days is hitting them hard. When you live in the open, there is little one can do to mitigate the effects of the chilly weather.

Strangely certain people in government don’t seem to realise that people are not animals; that they are meant to stay in homes and not in the open. They don’t care about the predicament of the poor, the old and the chronically ill who have been left without shelter.

While floods may have precipitated the wholesale eviction of people in Tokwe Mukosi resulting in the creation of Chingwizi transit camp where 18 000 people are living in inhumane conditions, there is no justification to have families who were once living happily in the Mazowe valley all of a sudden become homeless.

The debacle shows that we have a government which, instead of protecting its people, is the perpetrator of human rights violations. Zimbabweans, even the poor farming community close to the President’s huge farm, deserve and are entitled to human dignity, shelter and food.

Tragically, all these become unattainable once they are kicked out of their homes by baton wielding police.

Authorities do not seem to care that the rights of people are violated once they are dumped in areas where they cannot access food, health and school facilities.

Nobody, including President Robert Mugabe, seems to care about the humanitarian consequences of these on-going displacements happening with alarming frequency.

Unfortunately we have seen these violations before when government embarked on a widely condemned clean-up operation in 2005 that was dubbed Murambatsvina.

The operation left 700 000 people homeless after bulldozers razed their houses.

The scale of the human suffering and devastation that occurred prompted then Secretary General Koffi Annan to dispatch Anna Tibaijuka, a special envoy on Human Settlement Issues to assess the deteriorating humanitarian situation.

Tibaijuka saw firsthand how Mugabe’s actions had caused untold devastation in Harare.

After leaving Harare, she produced a 100 page damning report showing the demolitions were “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.”

In a bid to cover-up its crimes, government embarked on Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle which was meant to provide housing to the victims of the operation. Due to resource constraints, the programme was doomed from the start.

Nine years later, after Tibaijuka recommended that those who orchestrated Murambatsvina be prosecuted, government is planning yet another clean-up in Chitungwiza.

Ignatius Chombo, the minister of Local Government announced last week that government would demolish “illegally built” houses located on wetlands and on land reserved for other projects without council approval.

“We want an orderly city,” Chombo declared. “We need sanity and a well-planned city. People should stop fraudulent land sales by self-styled barons who are eager to sell land not belonging to them.”

“What human rights are there to talk about when people settle where they are exposed to dangers.”

It is strange that Chombo, who wants to see sanity in the dormitory town did not raise a finger in protest when Zanu PF land barons sold the land to the people who are now on the verge of being homeless. Most of these land sales occurred during the time when Zanu PF wanted to secure votes in the area.

If Chombo was unhappy with houses being constructed on wetlands, why didn’t he instruct his officers to stop the barons from selling stands in the area? Why were the homeseekers allowed to build on wetlands?

It is distressing to note that a decision has already been made to demolish the structures, yet no plan has been made to house the affected people.There is no doubt the looming evictions will bring untold suffering to families that will be left without shelter as winter approaches.

Zimbabwe is party to the convention on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, which prohibits a country from evicting people without having made alternative plans for them. This won’t stop another Murambatsvina from occuring.

The planned demolitions will create another humanitarian crisis at a time when government is failing to provide decent shelter and food to 18 000 people at Chingwizi. No plan has also been put in place to assist the people who were evicted from Mazowe valley.

The manner in which government is moving forward with illegal evictions shows total disregard for people’s well-being.

Government does not think about human suffering. The weak, the vulnerable and the poor have no protection under this government!


  • comment-avatar
    Mlimo 9 years ago

    When you worry about where the next meal is coming from you don’t have time to worry about the government that’s the way Mugabe likes it . Less attention to his 34 years of failures.

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      When you control food you control people. There is a special judgment waiting for those who trample on the heads of the poor. God’s judgment will be just and swift when it comes. Repent!

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    Isu Zvedu 9 years ago

    And then you hear people chorusing on about removing Morgan Tsvangirai, even accusing him for offering poor opposition. Lazarus Dokora of Muzarabani, where are you? Can you be the Lazarus Nzarayebani of today’s chaos? RIP sir. Gone are those days when real parliamentarians and cabinet ministers worked for the people.

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    The Zimbabwe government is a complete travesty of what a government is meant to be. Government is meant to be lead the nation towards their aspirations and dreams. This government is about leading the leaders towards untold personal wealth.

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    Gukurahundi victim 9 years ago

    These people are fools evicted and just say fine we move is rebellion something they cant do?let these dogs come to Tsholotsho,Nkayi or Lupane they will learn a lesson we will remind them of the crime they committed during the gukurahundi era its not over we the Mzilikazi descendants are waiting for such an action to repeat then people will learn a tough lesson. People shld learn to be radicals when provoked which is better to do “live for nothing or to die for something”

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    Zvichanaka 9 years ago

    We have thieves and gangsters in government fullstop!

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    Zimbabweans are toothless dogs which is why the gov does what ever it wants without an uprising … how bad do things have to get b4 the masses take to the street. its time to act and take the law into our own hands… everyone else does it.

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    Mixed Race 9 years ago

    These are the same people you refer to as the poor,the weak and the vulnerable who voluntarily joined the war vets to seize peoples farms with terrible violence beating poor dogs in their cages with total impunity.You reap what you sow in life.It is their turn to experience the cruelty of leaving your life time dwelling with nothing.Until we learn to forgive others we should not expect others to forgive us.
    These people we call poor sometimes are the very people who make funny and stupid comments in public places like what my sister in law experienced in a bus from Lusaka to Harare when a group of young men inside the bus made this remark- we kicked out all the white farmers to Zambia so that we can take their houses, BUT when she told them that who is feeding you now,these idiots became arrogant because they cannot think logically.Sometimes its good to let them suffer because what does not kill you makes you stronger and more clever or you die in your total stupidity.You do not get these silly comments from MAT people.Its a joy to talk to the rural people from Mat because they seem to be politically well informed due to what happened to them in the eighties.

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    chombo and dokora worst idiots in mugabe s cabinet