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Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles
accepts help to build homes
January 17, 2007
BULAWAYO - A
partnership between Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, and the International
Organisation for Migration (IOM), will bring about the construction
of much-needed housing to replace homes demolished nearly two years
ago during Operation
Also known as Operation
Restore Order, Murambatsvina was touted as an urban "clean-up
campaign" by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government but
condemned by the UN for breaching "both national and international
human rights law", and left over 700,000 people homeless.
The campaign was hastily
followed by the government's Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Live
Well), designed to rehouse those who homes had been destroyed, but
the follow-up exercise did little to alleviate the country's self-inflicted
humanitarian crisis. In Bulawayo alone, more than 10,000 housing
structures were torn down during the nationwide operation.
Mugabe's opponents condemned
the campaign as a collective punishment of urban residents for supporting
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party.
Japhet Ndabeni Ncube,
Bulawayo's executive mayor, told IRIN that the IOM had offered to
assist in the construction of about 1,700 houses, specifically for
those made homeless by Operation Murambatsvina but had not benefited
from Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle.
According to council
records, only 39 victims of Operation Murambatsvina, out of an estimated
10,000 affected households, benefited from the 700 houses built
in its wake.
Ncube said a recent audit
had found that the beneficiaries of Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle
in Bulawayo were mainly politicians, well-known soccer players,
public servants and security force members involved in the operation,
and at least 600 of the "illegal beneficiaries" owned
one or more properties elsewhere in the city.
The council audit revealed
that very few victims of Operation Murambatsvina had actually got
houses. "We are grateful for the support offered by the IOM
because it will help many victims of Operation Restore Order [Murambatsvina],
who are still living in various conditions of distress in unsuitable
locations around the city."
Bulawayo town clerk Moffat
Ndlovu said the IOM had indicated that they would spend about US$3,000
per unit, although the total cost of the programme had yet to be
finalised because of the country's unstable economic environment,
in which inflation was now running at 1,281 percent, the highest
in the world.
"We agreed on a
double-phased programme, in the first stage of which the IOM would
put up complete structures for the poorest victims of Operation
Restore Order. The beneficiaries are expected to provide labour,
such as brick-moulding and other support roles," Ndlovu told
IRIN. "In the second phase, the IOM would provide materials
for those who can afford to pay part of the construction costs of
the structures. When we worked out the programme last year, we estimated
the cost of putting up a single structure at US$3,000, but it could
be much higher now."
The government has rejected
numerous offers of help to build houses by various international
organisations, saying it had adequate resources to manage the crisis.
Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, said
the government welcomed development partners. "The government
will work with any genuine organisation that wants to help the country
develop. Their assistance makes a great difference to our people
and we appreciate it."
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