Friday, July 01, 2005

Tsunami Sweeps Thru Zimbabwe

Since May 25th, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has been executing his "Operation Murambatsvina" (translated: "Get Rid of the Filth" or "Drive out the Trash"), determined to forcibly remove poor residents and criminals out of cities and "restore sanity" to the African nation. This man-made tsunami has decimated entire cities from north to south (Mount Darwin to Beitbridge) and east to west (Mutare to Bulawayo), leaving death and an estimated 300,000 to a million homeless in its wake. Under the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development, the government has arrested over 20,000 vendors, destroyed their vending sites, and auctioned off their wares.

Harare-before and after.
Before the operation - and after...

With over 80% of its population (over 8 million people) earning a living from informal vending and no public healthcare, housing or education system available, this policy is destroying Zimbabwe's economy. So, what could be the possible motivation?

The Sokwanele Civic Action Support Group suggests a reason behind this unrestrained chaos:
One theory is that the current operation is part of a strategy to reallocate what is left of Zimbabwe's dwindling resources to those that the ruling party has to rely on to retain control. Already, vendors' licenses are being reissued in Harare - but only to those who have a valid ZANU PF card. Similarly, in those areas that have been razed to the ground, such as White Cliff Farm, land is already being re-pegged, and the sites are being allocated to members of the army and police. Furthermore, people from MDC supporting cities are being displaced into ZANU PF strongholds in rural areas, where it is quite simple - those who do not support ZANU PF will not be allowed access to food this winter.
This insidious plot does not sound like the actions upon democratic ideals, but rather the divisive stratagem of a tyrant. Zanu-PF chief whip Jerome Macdonald Gumbo even tried to defuse the political ramifications of wealth reallocation in the city of Harare with the following ominous statement:
Harare used to be a very smart town. Now it has become dirty and dangerous. The exercise is painful but it has to be done. It is a necessary evil.
I have no doubt Hitler and Stalin had the same reasoning in mind as well.

As Amnesty 's statement yesterday indicates, the Zimbabwe ruling government is merciless in its destruction and has no "sanity" to restore:
Amnesty International has received information that at least three have died -- including a pregnant woman and a four-year-old child -- during a chaotic mass eviction at least 10,000 people from Porta Farm, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Harare established by the government more than 10 years ago.

Over the last 48 hours, Porta Farm -- a settlement of at least 10,000 people -- has been obliterated. People have watched their lives being completely destroyed and many are now being forcibly removed in trucks by police. At the moment we are not sure where they are being taken,"said Kolawole Olaniyan, Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme.

Some residents have resisted the attempt to forcibly remove them and have been injured in clashes with the police. Local human rights monitors report that during the attempted forced removals this morning two women -- one pregnant and the other extremely ill -- fell off the trucks into which they were being herded. A four-year-old child was reportedly run over by a truck. There are unconfirmed reports of a second child dying circumstances are not yet clear.

Amnesty International called for an immediate halt to the mass forced evictions.
This man-made tsunami in Zimbabwe must stop. Support Amnesty International and help put an end to the madness.


At 3:46 PM GMT-5, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm got a new but more appropriate name for your blog. How about Village Idiot?


At 8:30 AM GMT-5, Blogger the prisoner said...

Village Idiot? Is that place that truth-tellers have been pushed into now?

I guess if in blogging about the global village, I offend, then maybe you're right. Many might want to treat me as an idiot, rather than adpot new more tolerant beliefs.


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