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Monitoring Report - June 2005
Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
July 15, 2005
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The widely criticised 'Operation Restore Order', also known
in the vernacular Shona language as 'Operation Murambatsvina'
no doubt was the talking point for the greater part of the month
of June, with local and international stakeholders voicing their
concerns over the breaches of human rights and the perceived politicisation
of the issue.
The timing of
the exercise, in which the government was at great pains to defend
as a necessary 'clean up' of urban and semi-urban areas of vice
and dirt through demolitions of the so-called 'illegal' structures
left a lot to be desired.
the ZPP indicate that the exercise, which was essentially supposed
to be carried out by town and city councils nationwide, was perceived
as having been literally hijacked by the national authorities as
a form of retribution against the majority of urban dwellers who
voted overwhelmingly for the country's major opposition political
party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
outlined briefly below serve to buttress the above assertion. The
government descended on Porta farm near Harare despite two
high court orders barring the state from interfering in the affairs
of the farm.
The ZPP witnessed
on June 29, a gross disregard for human dignity by the authorities
on the second day of demolitions of structures at the farm. Three
suspected youths from the national youth training service allegedly
assaulted AC, a twelve year old boy who was trying to retrieve stray
chickens in the commotion. Five people including a pregnant woman,
CK a five year old boy and RM a terminally ill woman died during
the Midlands have it that the clean up campaign sucked in the MDC
in political violence. For example in Gweru Urban, it was
alleged on 20 June that SC, a Zanu PF councillor coming from one
of his party's meetings was intercepted and assaulted by unidentified
youths believed to be MDC supporters who accused the victim of organising
the demolition of houses.
On 12 June in
Masvingo Central, it was reported that 'squatters' who had
been forced to leave the Mucheke riverbanks as a result of the clean-up
exercise returned to the area after failing to secure alternative
accommodation only to be assaulted by police details who went on
to burning their property.
Again in Masvingo
Central it was reported that on 29 June, in an unnerving incident
at Gomba Business Centre, SN an MDC activist allegedly stabbed CZ,
a Zanu PF supporter with a knife after a heated argument concerning
perceptions of the Murambatsvina campaign. The alleged perpetrator,
according to reports, is still on the run from the police who are
said to be diligently investigating the matter.
on 20 June, kraal head JH of Hondo village under Chief Saunyama
reportedly denied AM, an MDC activist and his family entry into
the village after his dwelling in Mutare was destroyed during the
Operation Murambatsvina. It is said the victim's relatives who sought
to take him in were threatened with unspecified action if they did.
It is said the victim and his family spent two days in the open
before returning to Mutare.
on 8 June, a group of suspected MDC supporters allegedly attacked
police officers who were ordering people to demolish their illegal
structures. The lawmen, it is said, managed to escape during which
time the attackers were accusing them of assaulting an innocent
of the politicisation of residential and commercial stands allocations
surfaced in Chinhoyi at the end of June in which Zanu PF
and council officials led by one Chipunza, a security officer were
reportedly allocating the stands only to people with a confirmed
allegiance to the ruling party. According to reports, perceived
and known MDC supporters were left in the buff after it was reported
that prospective 'flea market' operators could only 'qualify' to
pay a 'permission fee' of $2,7 million per head after satisfying
the local ruling party officials that they were conversant about
structures and operations of Zanu PF.
In the same
connection, the Zanu PF District Coordinating Committee chairperson
only identified as Makumbe, ward 1, 5, and 7 councillors a Magureyi,
Foster Mahwani, and Prosper Mavhunga respectively, a Mrs. Chadehumba
and Kamupiro, a local Zanu PF district official who also doubles
up as an employee of the Chinhoyi municipal police have been allegedly
carrying out 'vetting' exercises in which non-Zanu PF supporters
have were being 'blacklisted for evictions under the guise of the
'clean up' campaign.
The spate of
political violence sparked by the contentious clean up campaign
left many scars and a trail of human rights violations by such groups
like state arms, the main opposition party, ruling party and peripheral
players like youth militias and war veterans.
The ZPP strongly
condemns the haphazard manner in which the operation was carried
out. We also revile the gross violation of human rights that the
process came with and strongly urge the relevant authorities to
seriously plan mitigation strategies in wide consultations with
all stakeholders to avert a further deterioration of the humanitarian
crisis the country is currently enmeshed in.
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