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Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles
months on, blitz victims still homeless
Kombora, The Zimbabwe Independent
October 28, 2005
of her makeshift plastic shack at Tsiga grounds in Mbare, ashen-faced
Fungai Maungana can still not come to terms with the life she has
been living since May. Her face has the look of despair and confusion.
"This is not
a life. How can I live like a dog?" Maungana, who is widowed, asked.
She used to
stay in Jo'burg Lines in the suburb and was evicted during the internationally
condemned Operation Murambatsvina.
her two orphaned grandchildren, Maungana cannot make ends meet.
Her grandchildren have since stopped going to school.
The people at
Tsiga grounds accuse government of failing to offer them alternative
accommodation despite official claims that Operation Murambatsvina
was aimed at giving the former slum dwellers decent houses.
"Since we came
here government has not given us accommodation and we do not know
what we are going to do," Maungana said.
after the launch of Operation Murambatsvina, victims of the slum
demolition programme continue to endure the agony of the ill-conceived
and heaps of uncollected rubble are now part of the Tsiga landscape.
Residents are constantly reminded of how government ruined their
lives when it destroyed homes and informal business kiosks in a
campaign which the United Nations said cast at least 700 000 people
onto the streets without shelter, food or income.
in makeshift homes at Tsiga grounds and Ground No 5 in Mbare can
still feel the pinch of the military-style operation.
A recent report
in the Herald newspaper revealed that the operation was launched
as a preemptive strike allegedly to stop a rebellion by poor urban
The people at
Tsiga are living under inhuman conditions without potable water
or toilets. Their shacks are less than a metre high, one has to
crawl in and out.
Most of the
residents have to buy water at $20 000 per bucket from nearby houses
and survive on donations from church organisations and other well-wishers.
They bath and do their laundry in the Mukuvisi River.
heaps of rubbish from Operation Murambatsvina, there are clear dangers
of a serious health risk.
shanty homes and backyard cottages were razed in the controversial
military-style operation, residents of Harare are still battling
to come to terms with the amount of rubble left behind. There was
an announcement last week that the rubble was being removed. People
are still waiting.
The United Nations,
Western governments and local and international human rights groups
condemned the clean-up exercise as a gross violation of poor people's
The most difficult
time, according to Maungana, is the approaching rainy season.
"We are definitely
going to be soaked by the rains as we do not have anywhere to go,"
her colleagues condemned the slow-moving Operation Garikai which
she however said was unlikely to benefit Murambatsvina victims.
we were going to benefit from Operation Garikai, but unfortunately
the beneficiaries are those who already have homes elsewhere," she
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