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Chombo threatens military action
The Standard (Zimbabwe)
September 11, 2005

CHINHOYI - Irked by lack of progress in the construction of houses under the government's "Operation Garikai", the government is now threatening to set soldiers on those failing to meet the unrealistic targets set in July.

Last week, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, blasted civil servants for "dereliction of duty" and warned that soldiers would be deployed to forcibly make them perform.

Chombo was addressing senior civil servants at Chinhoyi Training Centre on Thursday.

Senior heads of department were asked to go and relay the message to their subordinates that picnic time is over.

Chombo, who was riled by the snail's pace of "Operation Garikai", furiously took to task the government heads of departments. He directed that they hand over culprits to the army who will be deployed in all the provinces and who would deal with them "accordingly". Chombo did not elaborate. Nor did he say under what law the military would be empowered to punish civil servants.

However most of the construction is being spearheaded by military personnel.

Addressing the same gathering Brigadier Nyikayaramba, who is heading the building of houses under "Operation Garikai" in Mashonaland West, admitted that the operation had failed to provide even one complete house in Chinhoyi.

But in an all familiar pattern of the blame game, he accused the British and Americans of planting "willing tools to derail the process". He said they were going to deal with them, but did not say how.

When it was pointed out that progress on construction had been slowed down because of lack of fuel, Nyikayaramba declared that fuel for the operation was available and urged the council to use police vehicles if need be.

Although 200 had been targeted for completion by 30 August, no houses had been completed.

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