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on Operation Murambatsvina by Zim delegation to the social movements
in Zimbabwe Coalition and CHRA
June 21, 2007
View the Operation
On the 12th of June 2007
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition in conjunction with Combined Harare
Residents Association sent a delegation of Zimbabweans from Harare
to Durban and Cape Town respectively.
The visit by Zimbabweans
was a return visit to social movements in South Africa who also
visited Harare last year to witness the effects of operation Murambatsvina.The
exchange Programme was aimed at building and strengthening solidarity
between Zimbabwe and South African social movements particularly
those that have been affected by evictions both in Zimbabwe and
in South Africa.
It was also meant to
share experiences and find solutions to the problems that affect
the lower class in society particularly in social service delivery.
The delegates who went
to Cape Town were hosted by comrades from Treatment access campaign
while those in Durban were hosted by The Durban Shack dwellers movement
popularly known as Abahlali baseMjondolo.
Anilliah Masaraure and
Beatrice Ngwenya of the Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA)
who were in Durban with Abahlali baseMjondolo were staying in the
Motala Heights and Pemary Ridge settlements in advance of a meeting
Below is the report compiled
by the group that was presented to the South African comrades.
As we take stock
of Operation Murambatsvina 2 years down the line, we are confronted
with the reality of whole families - father, mother and children;
some of whom are teens - living in a single makeshift plastic
shack along Mukuvisi River, stripping them of their human dignity
and exposing them not only to cholera and other health hazards;
but also to a life worse than they have led in the concrete and
brick structures they were living in before the Operation.
Harare being the most
affected city by the Operation has the highest number of people
who are still living in the open or in makeshift shelters made of
plastics and cardboards. This is because most of the beneficiaries
of the Operation Garikai/Hlanani Kuhle, which is made up of uncompleted
structures, were genuine party supporters.
Compared to the previous
concrete and brick structures where people used to live in, the
houses of Operation Garikai/Hlanani Kuhle show a total failure by
the government as these sites have now turned into squatter camps.
To make matters worse there is no sewer and water reticulation systems
in these areas leading to health hazards and even loss of lives.
Vending and informal
sector which is a source of livelihood for many people in a country
which has over 80% of its potential labour force unemployed was
not spared by the Operation as this was labeled illegal. The promise
to build formal market places has not been fulfilled up to now leaving
many of these people operating with fear of being harassed by militia
and council police. This is leading to an increase in risky sexual
practices and large numbers of Zimbabweans migrating to neighboring
countries like South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique etc.
People living with HIV/AIDS
have been deprived of access to treatment and anti-retroviral drugs
die to displacement leading to loss of lives and child-headed families
exposing children to different forms of abuse e.g. school drop out,
theft and prostitution. Groups focusing on women empowerment have
not been spared thus depriving them of their rights.
All citizens of Zimbabwe
are hard hit by these challenges, the sick, the disadvantaged and
the marginalized have been further pushed into vulnerability and
Our position as the Combined
Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) on Operation Murambatsvina
is that all the affected victims would be compensated for their
losses. The Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) believes
that human rights principles are the true "bona fide"
yardstick to judge the credibility of the Operation. Indeed those
who spearheaded this brutal campaign should be held accountable.
After all has been said
and done Zimbabweans need support from our fellow Comrades in the
by Anilliah Masaraure:
In Zimbabwe they have
destroyed all the shacks. At least here they are still recognized.
Here they have taken access to electricity from the power lines.
We can't do that in Zimbabwe. Even water is protected here. That
impressed me very much.
We are happy to see that
here Abahlali work as a community and that even the finances are
fully controlled by the community. That it is very impressive.
by Beatrice Ngwenya:
Here the skills of the
struggle are passed on to every comrade. They can even connect electricity
safely and there is a team that passes on the skills to other comrades
so that everyone learns how to do it safely. This way of passing
on all the skills of the struggle to everybody is very impressive.
We are also very impressed
that everyone is united here in Abahlali. The blacks and the Indians
they are united. There is no division. And here they come out in
very large numbers. Young men and women struggle in their numbers.
This is very impressive. And we have seen that here your flyers
are all in your own language. This is very impressive. In Zimbabwe
our flyers are always in English.
In Zimbabwe we can't
have more than 4 or 5 people meeting. The police will stop us. We
are very much urging Abahlali to make use of this opportunity while
the government still allows them to meet and to organize. This opportunity
will not last for ever. It must be used now.
There is more starvation
in Zimbabwe because before the people could do some vending but
during Murambatsvina it was destroyed. Even the water is not up
to standard and not just for the shacks. The water for the whole
city is not safe. And sewers are open, refuse is not collected.
There is no medication in the clinics. When we are fighting for
our rights as citizens - water, housing and these things -
we are taken as if we are trying to be politicians. There are no
rights for citizens. There are only rights for party card holders.
You must be the holder of a party card to get something. We are
fighting for rights for everyone. For example some few informal
traders got a place to stay after Murambatsvina but they must be
party card holders to get the place. As socialists we say that this
is unfair. We are urging the comrades here to fight while they still
can. But don't take too long lest you end up like us.
We encourage much solidarity
action between socialists in CHRA and Abahlali. If possible we should
have solidarity via the website and exchange visits.
Visit the Crisis
in Zimbabwe fact
Visit the CHRA
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