Daily News  :: Southern Africa


UN report on Zim ready in two weeks

Published: 11-JUL-05

Harare - A United Nations envoy who investigated Zimbabwe's razing of townships will present a report of her findings to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in about two weeks, a spokesperson said on Monday.

"We are working on the report for this week," said Sharad Shankardass, the spokesperson for the UN Habitat agency.

"Hopefully, the report will be ready between one-and-a-half and two weeks from now."

UN envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, who is the executive director of UN Habitat, will personally go to New York to present the report to Annan, who "will then make a decision accordingly", said the spokesperson.

Tibaijuka left Harare on Saturday after a 12-day fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe.

The UN estimates that 200 000 people have been left homeless in the nearly three-month campaign to demolish shacks and other unauthorised dwellings, but the opposition has denounced the blitz as a campaign of repression and say up to 1.5-million Zimbabweans have lost their homes.

The Zimbabwean government began the demolitions around May 19, razing shacks, markets and nurseries in what it has described as an urban renewal campaign to get rid of grime and crime.

At least two children were crushed to death during the demolitions and residents at one settlement near Harare said four died when their homes were razed, but police have denied that those four deaths occurred.

Police said at the end of June that the clean-up campaign called Operation Murambatsvina, which means Drive out Trash, and its linked Operation Restore Order was in its final stages.

But on Monday, the police moved into the plush suburbs of Harare where they ordered the demolition of staff quarters, garages and other outbuildings built without approval.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the police were targeting Harare's posh areas.

"Yes, I can confirm the clean-up operation is now in the low-density areas," he said.

The campaign has been criticised by the United States and Britain, but the African Union has refrained from blasting Harare, with South Africa in particular saying that it will await Tibaijuka's report before deciding on what action to take. - Sapa-AFP

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