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

  • Students conscripted for 'Operation Garikai'
    Valentine Maponga, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
    October 16, 2005

    CIVIL engineering students at Masvingo Polytechnic have been commandeered into the construction of houses under "Operation Garikai" as the government trails its self-imposed targets, The Standard has learnt.

    Students last week said they were instructed to go and help in the construction of houses under the ambitious project as part of their "practicals".

    "We are being forced to go and help build the houses at the farm and we have been told not tell anyone from the media or we will face expulsion. Our lecturers told us that this was part of our practical learning," said one student who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.

    He said the affected students missed their August holidays because they were building the houses under "Operation Garikai".

    The houses in Masvingo are being constructed at Victoria Ranch near Runyararo West high-density suburb on stands that are yet to be serviced.

    College Principal, Barnabas Taderera, on Friday confirmed that the students were involved in the construction of the houses under "Garikai" but denied that they were being forced.

    "It's part of their practical learning and we just want them to get involved with the real things on the ground. No one has been forced. Instead of them building fake structures and then destroying them, we thought they should go and help," Taderera said.

    He said the students were learning much faster because they are getting hands-on-experience. "Some students are going there on attachment and those who are still in college go for the electrification, planning and building. It's all meant for them to get the real feel of their chosen professions," he said.

    The government is struggling to meet its target of building 4 000 houses under "Garikai" in Masvingo due to a critical shortage of building materials and lack of funds.

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