President Robert Mugabe’s government, in 2005 demolished households of over 700 000 families saying they were not properly constructed and and was against the law, the move was condemned by the international community.
The blitz also targeted informal markets were the poor have been self-employed doing jobs like carpentry, welding and repairing electrical gadgets. Their markets were destroyed by the government which said they were not properly registered.
“Life for Zimbabwe’s poorest remains very difficult. The state has done nothing whatsoever to alleviate the plight of those displaced by Operation Murambatsvina,” SPT said in its report released on Friday July 30.
“The arrival of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the unity government, in which the MDC controls the Ministry of Housing, has made no difference in terms of actual housing policy on the ground.”
A United Nations special envoy on housing, Anna Tibaijuka came to Zimbabwe in 2005 to assess the damage by the clean up campaign. She recommended that the government of Zimbabwe should stop the demolition, pay reparations to those who lost housing and livelihoods and punish those who, “with indifference to human suffering,” carried out the evictions.
The report by the SPT says the operation led to some victims fleeing to neighbouring countries which include Botswana and South Africa, however the report says the victims of the campaign are also facing problems in neighbouring countries due to xenophobic attacks.
The SPT was formed by church leaders of Southern Africa who are committed to human rights, freedom and democracy in the region.