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Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles
Mugabe's housing programme grinds to a halt
HARARE - President
Robert Mugabe's project to build houses for thousands of families
whose homes he ordered demolished in a controversial urban renewal
campaign five months ago has ground to a halt because there is no
At least 700
000 people were cast onto the streets without shelter or means of
livelihood after their homes were demolished by the government,
according to the United Nations (UN) which also said Mugabe's urban
renewal campaign violated human rights and may have breached international
million poor Zimbabweans were also affected by the home demolition
campaign, the UN said.
But Mugabe defended
the urban clean-up exercise saying it was intended to better the
lives of Zimbabweans because the cash-strapped Harare government
would build modern houses for people whose mostly slum accommodation
had been demolished. However, a ZimOnline news team that visited
construction sites at Whitecliff and Hatcliff extension just outside
Harare, where construction of some of the houses began four months
ago, found the sites virtually deserted with no building taking
There were several
structures at various stages of incompletion with some of the contractors
who spoke on condition they were not named saying building work
stopped last month after the government ran out of money.
"Even us, the
workers, have not received our salaries since October," said one
construction worker at Hatcliff Extension. "In early October, the
government said we would receive some food because our salaries
would be delayed. But we only received the food a few times and
that was it."
hundred houses were recently completed in the second largest city
of Bulawayo, the government has not been able to finish building
houses in the other cities before the onset of the rainy season
as it had promised to do. The rains started a few weeks ago.
and Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo, in charge of the reconstruction
programme, confirmed the work stoppages. But he said that this was
because of a shortage of building materials rather than because
the government does not have money.
He said: "People
tend to exaggerate things. Of course we are having problems of suppliers
not meeting our demands for building materials. We have money for
Delays in completion
of the house building project appears to back economic analysts
who had expressed doubt that the Harare administration would be
able to find the huge financial resources required to sponsor such
to building houses, Mugabe's government must also find more money
to buy fuel, food, essential medical drugs and other basic survival
commodities in critical short supply as Zimbabwe grapples its worst
ever economic crisis. - ZimOnline.
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