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Zimbabwe Parliament debate on Operation Murambatsvina (Cont'd) - Page 1
Extracted from Hansard Vol. 32, No. 6
Parliament of Zimbabwe

June 28, 2005

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- Questions asked of Mr Chombo



Debate continued from June 23, 2005


MR. CHIMANIKIRE: Madam Speaker, in this august House I represent one of the oldest if not the oldest township in the City of Harare. Indeed a suburb which gave its name to the former City of Salisbury and is itself now known as Mbare.

Mbare township suburb has an estimated population of about 300 000 residents and 56 000 registered voters.

Synonymous of Mbare is the old age pensioners above the age of 60 the oldest identified pensioners being 87years old. These are the founder fathers of Harare. Their average pension received is below $ 50 000 per month because the majority are drawn from former domestic servants and the surrounding industries' general workers. This group constitutes a quarter of the population in Mbare who were previously the landlords before operation Murambatsvina. This generation of pensioned destitutes were subsisting on rentals earned from lodgers most of whom dwelt in shacks built around the main house. On average these old people have between 6 to 10 orphaned grandchildren whom they look after at each household because of the HIV Aids pandemic. These orphans who are of school, going age resort to vending after school in order to supplement the family income. The next group comprises of widows looking after an average family of 5 children per household widowed because of political violence in 2000 elections, 2002 presidential Elections perpetrated by ZANU PF sponsored Chipangano criminals engaged in beatings and murder of victims. They drove residents out of their houses and flats and occupied all the C block flats, of course paying no rent to the City Council for a period exceeding 5 years. Forcibly evicted residents moved into shack lodge rings.

Chipangano colonised market stalls and bus ranks and charged protection fees to the vendors of the market. Their Criminal's activity was officially sanctioned by ZANU PF politicians for years and were used for ZANU PF membership recruitment and meting punishment to MDC supporters. Their ZANU PF offices became torture chambers of opposition party supporters.

30% of Mbare population is comprised of unemployed youth who are 'O' Level graduates. 70% of the unemployed adult population had been absorbed into vending, carpentry and Siyaso and Mupedzanhamo informal business trading.

Today Madam Speaker, we have almost 96% no form of income bracket in Mbare thanks to the unplanned closure of their source of livelihood. The fall out also affects the Mutoko, Mrehwa, Domboshava suppliers of farm produce who now have no customers. The blind and the disabled form a substantial population of this old age suburb.

Mbare's housing waiting list has not received any attention from the City Fathers. Mbare residents have waited while ZANU PF supporters jumped the queue and got settled on un-serviced stands in the perimeter of the city. Newly built suburbs moved into home ownership schemes; this did not apply to Mbare flats dwellers, some who after 20 years are still paying rent to Council without any hope of respite. Their papers have not been processed by Council. Burst sewage pipes, flats that known no form of renovation or painting since the Clifford Dupont UDI days are the order of the day in Mbare.

Public toilets that have become non-serviceable and pose a health hazard, rubbish dumps that have not been collected for a period of 25 years - Ndiyo inonzi tsvinaka iyi. Dehumanising public bathrooms are still a feature in this day and age and yet Government did not see it fit to address these issues but to destroy the shacks that people were living in. Yet, the City of Harare Commissioners found it necessary to increase the levies from $7 000. per household to $7 million a month. This is being charged to people who are unemployed and have no form of income. Mr. Speaker, it riles this Hon. member on how these people are going to be affording to pay these rates to the City of Harare.

The Welfare facilities like the Stodart Hall which has been turned into a morgue, the swimming pool is now an open pit, tennis grounds and volleyball grounds are now only open spaces. Women's clubs and recreational facilities that have now become a thing of the past. The only cleaning of rubbish along the roads is to Stodart Hall when a hero is being taken there on their way to the Heroes Acre. Any other time, there is no cleaning.

In fact, during the Parliamentary election campaign, when I was attempting to clear the rubbish, I was arrested and charged with illegal gathering and paid a fine of $ 35 000.00. That is the attitude of this Government in terms of gathering rubbish in Mbare.

Council has totally failed to be accountable in terms of the provision of basic services to the residents of Mbare. All the Council has managed to do is to hike rents and rates for nothing in return. This Operation Murambatsvina, without sufficient warning and provision of alternative can only be equated to the actions of a drunken who has lost his campus while travelling in a desert.

We have witnessed in Mbare more than births in open spaces, women being to give birth in open spaces without any medical facilities. The majority of the victims out in the cold are women and children. Funeral gatherings are being conducted in open spaces.

When we talk in this august House we talk of stamping out violence against women and children - what greater violence would exceed a baton stick wielding group of rowdy policemen beating women and children backed by bulldozers wrecking havoc to the only place that they called home and rendering them homeless?

What greater violence would exceed, further state sanctioned threats to chase those sleeping in the open away from those spaces without food and the only space that they occupy in this country that they now call home?

Third generation aliens have nowhere to go despite their historic contribution to the liberation of this country and its industrial development. Too little too late is being attempted, when you displace 200 000 people and when you make a provision for stands for 20 000 people - what are the 180 000 people going to do, I ask? The vetting exercise is a farce, in my own opinion, it meant to accommodate ZANU PF faithfuls only. Where was this Government pakamboita chamaakuti tsvina nhasi?

In conclusion, let me say whilst we accept the value one man one vote in social economic structure, unless we accept the value of one man one value - if we continue to deny this for long, we do so only by denying our political democracy imperial. Years of economic mismanagement and failed painful economic reform, forced hundreds of thousands of lowly paid and unskilled blacks into the streets. Little wonder that high crime levels have been such a problem - it is the creation of this regime.

Mr. Speaker, Government should not go on holiday then have a rude awakening by imposing Tsunami on its own people. Careful planning should precede implementation. The current evil Murambatsvina should be stopped for humanitarian reasons - let us go back to the drawing board and plan properly in order to reduce the human suffering that is currently being experienced.

In conclusion, properly serviced transit camps should be constructed, police overzealousness should be curtailed or stopped and the eradication of the informal sector by this regime should stop.

MR. GWETU: My emphasis would be on the negative effects of operation Murambatsvina and I will ask for leave to read most of my text in order to maintain cohesion.

Operation Murambatsvina has caused much sufferance that is strife, stress and desolation in society. It is a premeditated move by the ruling party to marginalise its opponents mainly MDC and its allies.

The process comes like a wolf in sheep skin to consume and rid of itself any opposition to its bad policies and governance.

This treacherous monster called Murambatsvina is reflected in the Presidential Speech on page12 — it spills from pages 12 to 13 last paragrapgh which reads:— " Government has, in liaison with municipal authorities, instituted a vigorous campaign to restore sanity and order in urban and other areas."

Again posing as a corrective measure — it spills from pages 12 to 13 last paragraph which reads:— "In tandem with on-going clean-up campaign..."

Yes, that is the long term process. What about short term, where people are already exposed? We are witnessing a travesty of justice and equality in human rights. This is a political crime.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Gwetu, you are making a very important point but do not provoke the other side by interfering with the flow of your mind.

MR. GWETU: I have made a sampling out research of my constituency which has been seriously affected hence at Iminyela 38 stands with 108 structures with a population of 312 were displaced.

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