Back to Index
Parliament debate on Operation Murambatsvina
(Cont'd) - Page 1
from Hansard Vol. 32, No. 9
Parliament of Zimbabwe
July 05, 2005
list of 2005 Zimbabwe Parliamentarians
Jump to contributions
- MR. GONESE
- MR. MADZIMURE
DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY (MR. MATONGA)
DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (MR. RUSERE)
continued from June 30, 2005
Sixth Order read: Adjourned
debate on motion on state action in respect of Operation Murambatsvina
Questions again proposed.
GONESE: I would like to thank the mover of this motion
for raising this important issue for debate in this august House.
Everywhere you go in Zimbabwe people are talking of 'Tsunami
Disaster.' Unlike the real Tsunami disaster that happened
in Asia, this one in Zimbabwe is not a natural one because it did
not come from God but it is man made.
In ancient Rome it was
said that, "those that when the gods want to destroy they
first make mad". When you look at the events in this country,
this adage appears to be appropriate. I have tried to look at the
logic behind it but I have found that there is none. I do not see
any reason why a Government which represents people would want to
cause so much suffering to them. When you look at the devastating
effects. One does not understand the rationale for this. As we are
speaking now, thousands of people are sleeping in the streets with
no homes to go to. Just a few weeks ago they had homes and it was
not their fault that they did not properly construct houses.
This Government promised
houses for all by the 2000 and now 25 years later, there is no housing
for all. We had to pay for different housing schemes which were
looted by some Hon. members in this House. In these schemes, people
were asked to contribute towards the construction of their houses
but funds that they contributed ended up in the pockets of Government
officials. That is why we had such houses being constructed and
one was dubbed 'Gracelands' et cetera. The point I would
like to make is that there was no reason for Government to embark
on this operation when they did not have the resources to reconstruct
what they had destroyed. We all know that the Government does not
have the money and has ideally come up with operation Garikai or
Operation Hlalani Kuhle but the bottom line is that nothing will
come out of it because they have been ruining this country for the
past twenty-five years.
The point that I would
like to make is that the prevailing situation in the country is
like that of a man whose house is on fire but he actually takes
petrol or paraffin to poor on the burning house. We all know that
people have been suffering enough without the so called Operation
Murambatsvina. The level of unemployment is very high, no decent
accommodation and to add insult to injury - Government goes
on to destroy the little that they have.
I represent Mutare Central
Constituency - this is an urban constituency. In Sakubva,
one of the areas in my constituency, most of the areas there had
these log cabins which people had to construct because for the past
twenty-five years, the Government has been unable to provide accommodation
for them. We have a situation where the City Council which was run
by ZANU PF for the past twenty-three years has unable to provide
adequate housing. At this point in time they can not even service
or provide stands because there is lack of resources. So, people
had resorted to constructing their own log cabins which they can
afford and the Government goes on to destroy them.
It is not just on accommodation
but we just also have to look at the issue of flea markets and vendors
which again the government have destroyed. I have compiled a list
of people who have been affected - this is just a tip of the
iceberg of the list of people who had bothered to go to the council
to acquire licenses. You will find here I have got at least ten
vendors who were properly licensed - some of them were selling
clothes at Meikles Park in Mutare. Others were selling seat covers,
fruits, handbags, and others were selling vegetables - they
were all duly licensed by the local authority.
I will go on to the next
page where we have 12 people. The police were indiscriminate in
that they were prosecutor, judge and jury - people had no
recourse to the whole process. At least, if we had a situation where
people had been given prior notice that you must prove that what
you are operating is registered or not - it would have been
better. This was the situation which obtained before the destruction,
people were given a few hours notice pending which their homes were
destroyed. I personally witnessed some of the wanton destruction.
There was one that started
on Friday, I can not remember the exact date, I spoke to the Officer
Commanding the operation requesting that people should be given
adequate time at least two months to enable them to secure alternative
accommodation. I even asked what was the rational behind the operation
- they had no answer and kept saying that those were orders
from above. I wondered what kind of a government can give such orders
to the police. Some of the female police officers actually cried
as the operation was being conducted - they could not do anything
but follow orders.
Some of these
lists are very long and again, I wish to beg leave to table them
so that people who have time can go through them in the Hansard.
There is more than a thousand people who . . . — [MR. CHINAMASA:
Iyo haipindi mu Hansard, iwe hauzvioni wega] -
I think it is important for the nation to know that your Government
. . . — [MR. CHINAMASA: Say our Government!]
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order,
Hon. Gonese, I am advised that we are not going to print the lists
in the Hansard. The lists will be kept in the Papers office so that
those Members who want to go through them can do so.
I am not too sure of the reason why they can not be printed, may
I be enlightened because it would be within my rights? - [DR.
MADE: Marights echii?] - [AN HON. MEMBER: ipropagaanda
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Because
of the volume.
MR. GONOSE: There is
no propaganda, these are the facts . . .
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order,
Hon. Gonese, by the same token you want to know which Order where
that is pronounced - there is no order where it is written . . .
—[MR. GONESE: inaudible interjections] Hon. Gonese lets be reasonable
MR. GONESE: That is why
I said that I want the people of Zimbabwe who read Hansard to have
access to the lists.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order,
but I am advising you that there is no Order which says that neither
is there an Order which says that anything tabled has to be reproduced
in the Hansard
MR. GONESE: I want to
make reference since it is not going to be printed in the Hansard.
On that first page there are 30 vendors who were deprived of their
only source of income by the callous and irresponsible Government.
On the second page, we have 32, people who were also deprived their
source of income by this so called government. Out of those 32,
12 were duly licensed to operate. On the third sheet, we had those
people who were duly licensed to operate and again were illegally
removed from the premises where they have been operating for a long
time. On the fourth sheet, nine people were duly licensed but were
wrongfully and unlawfully removed from their premises and these
people were paying their licence fees to the City of Mutare. All
in all I have got over 254 vendors. The full list goes to 1886.
I cannot understand why
a responsible Government would like to create a refugee situation.
In other countries where you have got refugees, it is as a result
of war, conflict or natural disasters like floods and cyclones.
Zimbabwe is the only country which I am aware of where we have a
refugee situation which has been created by a Government supposedly
representing the people of Zimbabwe. The only explanation that I
can have is that this Government does not actually represent the
people it claims to represent. The joke doing the rounds is that
as some of the people's were being destroyed, they were putting
on their ZANU PF regalia and flushing their ZANU PF's cards
and they said, we voted for you and why are you evicting us on our
premises. The response was, no, no, no one elected us into power,
we rigged the election and that is why we are doing this. That is
the truth because one cannot understand why a Government which relies
on votes would resort to this callous action.
The tragedy is that this
Government has been saying that there is bad publicity about Zimbabwe
and MDC is responsible. The truth is that this Government is scoring
its own goals, they are creating that situation. Zimbabwe at the
moment is on the headlines for the wrong reasons. Right now we have
a special envoy who has been dispatched by the UN Secretary General,
Kofi Annan to assess the situation in this country. It is pathetic
because you find that this Government is trying to mislead the special
envoy. For instance, in Mutare the Government claimed that there
was no one sleeping in the open when in fact there were several
people, more than 35 people who were sleeping in the open with no
If you go to Sakubva,
Chisamba and other places there are pockets of people sleeping in
the open. Some people do not want to go to open spaces because they
will be asked to go to their rural homes. These people do not have
rural homes. Some of these people are Mozambican origin and they
do not have a home. Their fathers came from Mozambique but they
were born in Zimbabwe. I know this government do not like people
of foreign origin that is why they always blame the totemless people
of Mbare for all their problems.
It is very unfortunate
and it is a very sad day to have a situation where a government
turns against its own people. What crime did they commit? You hear
them talking about creating better life yet it is the same government
which is responsible for the collapse of the economy over the last
20years. We know that they have never been good at anything. They
are good at destroying the economy and everything including the
livelihood of the people. They have destroyed education and health
and they are always blaming other people.
I would like to say that
if members sitting on your right would like to know who is responsible
for causing untold suffering and misery of the people of this country,
they need not to go further, they need to go to a mirror and come
face to face with the people who have been responsible for the destruction
of this country. Some members sitting on your right tell us that
they do not agree with this kind of thing when we discuss this issue
in the car park. The majority of them do not support this. If it
was their programme, why did they not put it in their manifesto?
If my memory serves me well, nowhere in the manifesto does ZANU
PF mention that they were going to embark on Operation Murambatsvina.
If it was their manifesto,
when we went for elections, surely, they would have said it in their
rallies that when we steal these elections, we are going to embark
on Operation Murambatsvina. They did not do that. They went on to
say that they discussed about this. This Parliament was on recess
when you embarked on this operation. Surely, if this Government
wanted to consult, they would have brought this issue to Parliament
for debate before launching the programme so that hon. members put
We had a Ministerial
Statement long after Operation Murambatsvina was launched. Why did
we not have it before so that hon. members could contribute? I know
the Leader of the House will not agree because he came to Parliament
through the window. Those people come through the back door can
support operation Murambatsvina but those who come through normal
channel should have been given an opportunity to debate the merits
and the demerits of operation Murambatsvina.
I spoke with the people
of Mutare and they said they were never consulted - [AN HON.
MEMBER: Makwavarara was not consulted] - no one was ever consulted,
it was just a directive. When the City of Mutare noticed that people
did not have accommodation, shacks were allowed. I am talking of
the former ZANU PF Council. People were paying certain amounts to
Mutare City Council. This was recognition that although they were
illegal structures but people did not have accommodation. To their
surprise, government destroyed these structures which ZANU PF Council
With these few
words, I would like to implore members seated on the other side
to come to their senses and join us in condemning these -
MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, some few months ago,
the United States of America Secretary said that Zimbabwe is an
out post of tyranny. I could not understand what he was trying to
say. Mr. Speaker, before I could finish digesting this issue, there
was a confirmation. If it is true that Zimbabwe is that type of
a particular state, there is no other way or one can describe the
leadership of this country by the way they are destroying the lives
of their own people for the sake of power.
Mr. Speaker, I tried
to discuss the issue with my colleagues on the other side trying
to find out the rational behind the destruction of people's
homes. There is no single person who can justify the acts of this
Government. Over the years, we have seen a systematic humiliation
of the people of Zimbabwe. It did not start now Mr. Speaker. The
problem is that sometimes we forget. There was at one time operation
Bvisa zvigutsa, when anybody who was perceived to be Ndebele speaking
could find his property thrown outside. There was also a time where
anyone who belonged to Muzorewa could have his or her property thrown
out. We went a step further, during 1985 - we know what happened
in Matebeleland. It is sort of a systematic way of dealing with
anyone who does not support ZANU PF.
I patiently wait to hear
what the United Nations and the African Union special envoys are
going to say. The barbaric act left a lot to be desired. This will
destroy the same negation of responsibility that the international
community has shown when genocide started in Rwanda. Mr. Speaker,
if you go to Mbare today, what you will see is unbelievable. If
you try to walk along Mukuvisi, what you will see is not believable.
We can not imagine your own child drinking from Mukuvisi River.
This is not because that child did not have somewhere to stay but
it is because of someone who woke up one morning and started destroying
Mr. Speaker, I was listening
from the radio and I heard the Minister of Information talking to
Studio 7. He was saying no one is suffering. I could not believe
his words considering what was happening on the ground. Mr. Speaker,
I could not believe such cheap propaganda when people are suffering.
There is a school near Magaba, the number of pupils has dropped
by 50%. Where are the parents of those children who used to go to
I was reading through
the Hansard and I came across a speech by Hon. Maluleke mentioning
the issue of millennium development goals. He was talking about
how he thinks the Government should work towards the achievement
of the millennium goals. Talking of the millennium goals, even the
President of this country agreed and signed in New York that they
were going to work towards attainment of those goals. This involved
that primary education for our children yet they are being displaced.
If it was a well planned policy, it should have been reflected in
the budget, it should have been reflected as Hon. Gonese said in
the party manifesto. They should have said the Government is going
to build so many houses . . . -- [HON. CHIHOTA: A good budget does
not supersede good management].
MR. SPEAKER: Order, order,
Hon. Madzimure you can continue.
MR. MADZIMURE: I am actually
a Member of Parliament who was voted into this August House, I will
represent them and say exactly how they are feeling. There is no
reason for me to pretend that people are happy. There is no single
person in Zimbabwe who can smile while bathing a baby in Mukuvisi.
If the Government had an idea of how to construct houses, it should
have started by demarcating the land.
Now they have
gone to Pfugari's farm trying to build demonstration houses
on someone's property. He has dragged the government to court
- the same Government which is destroying illegal settlement
is now being taken to court. The Government itself is building illegal
structures. The Minister is there, what kind of a Minister is that?
Can that Minister be a Minister who is fit to represent the people
of this country? He has tried to mislead the UN team but I know
they are not fools. He is pretending as everything is normal. He
cannot continue doing that. In Shona we say that rine manyanga
this is a serious challenge by the state to its affected people.
This is evidenced by the systematic militarisation of the Government
and quasi Government institutions and operations like the
Now we are abusing
our state agencies, we are abusing our security forces and we are
even abusing our police forces. For them to be involved in such
inhuman activities, it is degrading. We have people who are on ARVs
who are receiving their care from home based care givers. Imagine
Mr. Speaker, a bulldozer coming to a room where someone is sleeping
helplessly, he has no power and cannot even rise and needs someone
to lift him or her and destroy their structure to where? Where are
you sending that person? Any Government which thinks that it was
elected by the people could have stopped and considered the move.
Kambuzuma and we have got Rugare where most of the people are now
pensioners. The majority of them had been working for the National
Railways of Zimbabwe. Most of them came from Zambia, Malawi and
Mozambique. Their pensions are now $ 5 000. per month and because
of the economic mismanagement, it is nothing. Mr. Speaker, most
of those people have been surviving out of those two extra rooms
which they had built and they would collect rent from there. Their
budgets apart from the fact that they are now old, their burden
was made worse by the scourge of the HIV and AIDS.
Some of their children
have died, and now they have siblings to look after and they have
built some of those structures to house those people who should
have been afforded accommodation by the government. It is disheartening.
The Government was expecting
a stand off from the people, then they would unleash the weapons
they have been buying from China, Israel but the people were not
prepared to fall in that trap. Those weapons, if someone had stopped
to think and say let me go and service Hopley Farm, it would have
been possible to house more than 3 000 families. But this is exactly
what happens to a Government when it is drunk with power. Mr. Speaker,
we have made ourselves a laughing stock in the region.
I was coming
from South Africa the other day and I got hold of the Sunday Times
and there was an article from a gentleman by the name Bob Geldolf
describing our leadership. It is difficult to repeat what he wrote
in that paper - [HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections]
- do you want me to read what he said, I will quote exactly
what he said " . . . Live 8 organiser Bob Geldolf has branded
Zimbabwean President Mugabe mad, a thug and a creep", imagine
someone - why do subject ourselves to that I did not want
to say that myself - [MR. CHINAMASA: So your point of reference
is Bob Geldolf]
I said I did
not expect our leadership to be humiliated because of actions which
we are doing ourselves - [MR. MATONGA: Inaudible interjections]
- Hon. Matonga, you are the Deputy Minister of Information
and Publicity, go and interview people in the streets, they will
tell you that you are a creep. Mr. Speaker, personally I would not
expect a black led government to humiliate its fellow blacks. What
is happening is a fulfilment of the desire to destroy the opposition
and instil fear in the ordinary person's mind. The strategies
which this government is implementing are reactive and you did not
believe in what you were doing. Hence the need for contingent plans
to normalise the situation.
The evidence is there,
we have seen what happened in the commercial farms when it was believed
that the no vote had succeeded because of the commercial farmers.
The Government did it - they went for the commercial farmers,
we all know what happened. The Government is struggling to normalise
the situation on the farms to the extend that we are now trying
to invite those who were chased from the farms but unfortunately,
some of them are not prepared to come back, they will not come back
to Zimbabwe. Tobacco output has gone down from 200 million kilograms
in 2000 to 60 million kilograms this year. Those are the problems
we are creating as a Government, we are now consuming imported milk
from South Africa when we used to have dairy farmers when we used
to export milk to Zambia. Companies are closing by the day -
no foreign currency is being generated any more and there is no
direct investment. Zimbabweans cannot invest in foreign countries
because we do not have foreign currency.
MR. MUGABE: Point of
order. I think the hon. member is debating on issues that are not
relevant to issues that we are dealing with.
As a country, we have not yet recovered. The strategy being used
by the Government has four main objectives: reducing the population
in urban areas in anticipation of an uprising - to make sure
those displaced will be removed from the voters roll through registering
them on the housing list because they now claim they do not have
accommodation, make them poorer and hopeless, so that they become
easy to manipulate, this is exactly what we do to make sure that
if they go to the government for assistance to survive, they punish
them and provoke them.
I came to the
above conclusion because of the following reasons. There has never
been real effort by the Government to address the accommodation
problem in Zimbabwe. If we look back from independence, the Government
has failed to deliver sound economic principles to the urban population.
The Government cannot say the urbanites contributed to the economic
down turn. Since the flea markets were destroyed, no foreign currency
inflows were recorded at Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. How does the
government expect to get foreign currency from sources which it
does not know? There are clear sources of foreign currency like
tourism, trophy hunting.
Vendors of these flea
markets were paying rates to City Council and if these monies were
not getting to City of Harare, then the police should arrest the
officials of the City of Harare. To make matters, worse when the
police were confiscating these goods, including money, they did
not have any record whatsoever to say how much was taken.
None of these policemen
were prosecuted, instead it is those people sitting here on my opposite
side who have done it. The Government has managed to put our police
at a very precarious position. They were allowed to confiscate goods
without giving anything to indicate the amounts they would have
taken away. That prompted corruption because a lot of police officers
enriched themselves. I came across one police officer who confiscated
$ 500 000 worth of recharge cards. I have reported the matter to
the police and the police officer is going to appear in court. What
about those whom I did not see?
People lost their jobs
and the Government made a policy statement to say that we want to
promote entrepreneurship. We used to have even songs like "Sevenza
nhamo ichauya" but you criminalise these people. It is ridiculous
and this is a serious matter because we cannot do this to our own
I have seen people like
Makwavarara commenting on this operation but there is a lot of garbage
in Kambuzuma which was last collected three months ago. Makwavarara
and the Minister of Local Government and Urban Development came
to commission a co-operative by the name Joshua Mqabuko Heights
in Kambuzuma. They slaughtered a beast, the Minister cut a ribbon
to allow people to construct houses and then you go back and raze
that settlement again. When I asked him about this, he said I do
not know that co-operative.
If this Government does
not have people at heart, then they must let those who want to work
for the people do it. I do not expect this government to solve the
problem they have created because they are simply playing with people's
lives. The fact that they failed to build 100 000 houses from 1980,
what makes them think they will be in a better position to 500 000
houses in 4 months. It is a joke of the century.
I have tried to find
out who owns that place in Kambuzuma but there are no records. The
AU and UN have allowed themselves to be blinkered by this Government.
I hope and believe that this exercise stops because a lot of people
are suffering. You must go and see what happened in Chitungwiza,
a well structured dwelling which the Council approved and gave people
stands, they went there and destroyed property with bulldozers.
This was not done the current Council but it was done by the previous
Council. I do not believe my colleagues are serious. If they laugh
when we talk about these things, then it shows that they know very
well that they are here not because of the will of the people but
because they imposed themselves on the people.
Visit the Parliament
of Zimbabwe fact
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.