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  • Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles

  • Questions & Answers in Parliament on Operation Murambatsvina
    Extracted from Hansard Vol. 32, No. 4
    Parliament of Zimbabwe

    June 22, 2005

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    MR GWETU: My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government. I would like to know the Government's policy as regards the welfare of the citizens of this country who have been displaced through the "Operation Murambatsvina."

    A lot of people - men, women and children are living in the open without food, water and no sanitation at all, so I would like to get it from the horse's mouth. Could the Minister spell out the modalities as to how the Government is going to deal with this situation? It is an SOS situation, a very urgent situation.

    THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker, the welfare of the people is at the heart of the Government. - [MDC HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - the very basis of embarking on Operation Murambatsvina and Operation Restore Order is to advance and promote the broader welfare of the people. The operations are not intended to injure the people. The operations are intended to secure their long-term interests. - [MDC HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

    Mr. Speaker, the people who are displaced are being relocated and sent back to where they come from. Transport and the necessary logistics are being put in place to ensure that people go back to their original homes where the identification and the selection takes time - in the case of Harare, people have been temporarily resettled at the Caledonia Farm to allow for their identification and the needs for those people. Their stay at Caledonia Farm is temporary and during their stay there, their welfare will be attended to in terms of health and social amenities. Those aspects are being attended to.

    I want to say this at the heart of these operations is to promote and to advance the long term interests of Zimbabweans in towns and in the rural areas. We are aware and we accept that the dislocation has affected the immediate interests of the people but Government has put into place the necessary logistics to address those immediate concerns such as health, transport and all those needs are being addressed.

    MR. SIKHALA: Hon. Minister my constituency of St Mary's - 95 percent of people I represent in this august House are aliens from Malawi, Zambia and other countries, they do not have any home wherever their origin is. The majority of the people do not know what a rural home looks like.

    What is the Government's plan over these people who do not have any home anywhere except their small dwellings in St Mary's which they have had for the past 25 years or more during the Ian Smith regime.

    MR. CHINAMASA: You are aware that the last parliament, the Fifth Parliament, passed a law which basically facilitated people of Malawian, Mozambican and Zambian origin to gain citizenship in our country. I hope that process is proceeding unimpeded. I accept that there are people from your constituency and also from Mbare, maybe Kambuzuma and also in major towns, those will be relocated to our rural areas. We have got farms which we can relocate them to, into A1 A2 where they can be accommodated, so we see no problem. What is important is that you advise your constituents - when they get to Caledonia Farm or wherever they are temporarily located, you advise them that they can go to A1 farms. Government will put into place the necessary mechanisms to ensure that these people are settled on land. They are our citizens, they are our responsibility and we will discharge that responsibility without any problem.

    MR. COLTART: I am sure that the Hon. Minister is aware of the provisions of Article 7 of the Treaty of Rome which suggest that the forcible removal of people is crime against humanity. It is this Government's policy to breach Article 7 by forcibly removal of people from urban areas where they have lived their entire life to rural areas where they have no desire to go to. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]

    MR. SPEAKER: Order, a question has been asked and I expect they will be a reply before we get any further questions.

    MR. CHINAMASA: There is no intention on the pert of the Government to breach any laws, any conventions or treaties. What basically faced us as Government and this was rampant throughout the country - people were building where they liked at will without regard to the local authorities, without regard to our by-laws and to the rights of others. Now, we are saying that this is stopped. We will not tolerate it now and into the future. What we want is discipline and the observance of the rule of law.

    I am aware that the opposition had been preaching to us about the rule of law and now we are telling them that there were people who build structure out of the rule of law without regard to housing standards and the necessary local authority permits and without regard to compliance to the by-laws - now we are ensuring that from now on they will be compliance with our laws and that is what we are enforcing. In doing that, we are taking steps to ensure that the consequences of the dislocation will be minimized.

    We are aware that there is damage, people are homeless and so forth. The Ministry of local Government is now embarking on a massive housing project. Already, as you are aware, we have started publishing names of persons who have been allocated specific stands. Basically, we are ensuring that there is rule law which prevails in our local authorities and through out our country.

    MISS STEVENSON: My question is directed to the Minister of Education. What policy has Government put in place for the thousands of children who are now out of school as a result of this operation?

    THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION SPORTS AND CULTURE (MR. CHIGWEDERE): These children apart from Caledonia Farm are not assembling at any one centre where we can create one school facilities for them. Caledonia is a transit camp and we belief there will be no body there in two weeks time and therefore we cannot be expected to establish school facilities at a temporary camp which is not likely to last for not more than a month.

    If children displaced from Harare to Marondera have homes in Wedza and their parents go to Wedza, we are going to recruit them into schools immediately. If they move from Goromonzi, Tsholotsho or whatever, they will be admitted into schools immediately. That is the position, we cannot be expected to create schools to temporary places such as Caledonia Farm but once a parent in this case is in Domboshawa, with his children, we will take care of these children.

    MR. SPEAKER: I observe that it is a convention in this House that can only be three supplementary questions. In any case, this is a matter that is covered by a motion which have been moved, so if you could hold back your fire until you get an opportunity to debate it.

    MR. COLTART: I do wish to ask a question which regards the Urban Council Act and it touches on the same issue.

    MR. SPEAKER: If it touches on the same issue, could I ask that we look at other matters, then you can raise that tomorrow when the matter comes up on motion.

    MR. SIBINDI: My question is directed to the Minister of Environment and Tourism. What is the Government policy on those people who have settled in some national parks?

    THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM (MR. NHEMA): I wish to thank Hon. Member for his question. The policy of Government is that they will be removed from the protected areas and resettled elsewhere.

    MR. MUKAHLERA: My question is directed to the Leader of the House. Last week, two traders were given tickets one for seven million dollars (Z$7 million) and other for eleven million dollars (Z$11 million) respectively. I would like to know whether the police are allowed to give such a fine or these should be handled by the court? [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]

    MR. SPEAKER: Order, that is a question which in my view would require the Minister to do some research, if you can please put it in writing.

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