THE ghost of Operation Murambatsvina (Operation Clean-Up) has come back to hound government with MDC-T MPs on Tuesday demanding to know why eight years on it has failed to address the plight of victims of the demolitions.
Report by Veneranda Langa
The issue resurfaced as parliamentarians were debating a motion to ratify the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa introduced in the House of Assembly by Labour and Social Services minister Paurina Mpariwa.
According to Mpariwa, the convention, which was signed by President Robert Mugabe in Kampala, Uganda, in 2009, was a demonstration of the government’s commitment to protect victims of internal displacements.
Magwegwe MP Felix Magalela Sibanda said although ratification of the convention was welcome, Zimbabwe should deal with its internally-displaced people.
“There are economic and social refugees in Zimbabwe and in Magwegwe, children and even adults are roaming the streets and these are people who are failing to register to vote during the forthcoming elections. We have to minimise conflicts and devastation of habitats just like what happened during Operation Murambatsvina which caused a lot of suffering and harm in this country,” Magalela Sibanda said.
Zengeza West MP Collen Gwiyo said: “This convention is quite appropriate in that it applies to our situation, and the most prevalent event that everyone will remember is Operation Murambatsvina. It is my hope that through this convention issues that were not dealt with like the demolition of people’s houses will be rectified.”
Mazowe South MP Margaret Zinyemba (Zanu PF) caused a stir in the House when she said the problems of Operation Murambatsvina had been solved through Operation Garikai/ Hlalani Kuhle, resulting in Gutu North MP Edmore Maramwidze describing her as “drunk”.
Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo intervened and ordered Maramwidze to withdraw the statement as it was unparliamentary.
Government embarked on Operation Murambatsvina in May 2005, resulting in hundreds of thousands of housing structures and market stalls being razed down as they were deemed illegally built.
About 700 000 people throughout the country were affected by the demolitions.