Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pics of the zanu pf caused pandemonium in Harare........13/07/09

A Zimbabwean policeman attempts to stop a militant backer on the podium of President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe after he rushed on the podium to disrupt a key meeting of the power-sharing government in Harare on July 13, 2009. The conference ended prematurely At least one person was seriously injured.

Militants of President Robert Mugabe's party, seen, as they disrupt proceedings at the opening of a national conference to draw up a new constitution, in Harare, Monday, July, 13, 2009. The opening remarks by the speaker of the parliament Lovemore Moyo were drowned out by militants singing revolutionary songs.

 Militants of President Robert Mugabes party, seen, as they disrupt proceedings at the opening of a national conference to draw up a new constitution, in Harare, Monday, July, 13, 2009. The opening remarks by the speaker of the parliament Lovemore Moyo were drowned out by militants singing revolutionary songs.

Zimbabwean police keep watch on militants of President Robert Mugabe's party who disrupted proceedings on the first day of the all stakeholders conference on the constitution making process in Harare, Monday, July, 13, 2009. Mugabe's supporters were chanting party slogans and singing revolutionary songs which brought the programme into disarray.

Zimbabwe's anti-riot police push President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party supporters out off the Harare international conference center after they disrupted the opening of the All Stakeholders New Constitution meeting in the capital Harare, July 13 2009. Zimbabwean authorities abandoned a national constitution-making conference on Monday after chaos broke out among hundreds of rival delegates, witnesses said.

Operation Murambatsvina haunts another proposed clean-up operation 

HARARE, 13 July 2009 (IRIN) - A planned urban clean-up campaign in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, motivated by health and safety concerns has evoked fears among some residents of a re-run of President Robert Mugabe's iron-fisted Operation Murambatsvina in 2005.

Operation Murambatsvina left hundreds of thousands of people homeless after "illegal" structures were demolished by soldiers and police on the orders of the then ruling ZANU-PF government, and was widely seen by analysts as the punishment of city-dwellers for giving their overwhelming support to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

However, the proposal for an urban clean-up this time comes from the MDC city council, in the wake of a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 4,000 people and affected about 100,000 others, and the growing perception that Harare is turning into "another Kibera", a reference to one of Africa's largest slums, on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda told IRIN: "We cannot have a situation where we allow another Kibera to thrive here in Harare. We have council by-laws, which we have to enforce in order to bring sanity in all council business." He said by-laws were being selectively applied.

"For example, if we allow illegal settlements to continue increasing, and then we get another cholera outbreak during the coming rain season, such illegal settlements would certainly encourage the spread of waterborne diseases because they don't have proper water and sanitation facilities," Masunda pointed out.

"I recently visited one of the vending markets and I was shocked to learn that instead of just 62 stallholders operating from the market, there were more than 800 vendors, which obviously means facilities there are being strained and are compromising health standards."

An audit of rented council accommodation, occupied by illegal tenants over the years, will also be instituted. The council is particularly concerned about mushrooming illegal settlements in the affluent suburbs of Gunhill and Borrowdale, and along the city's watercourses.

"We should not promote anarchy; let us remove all the illegal structures as soon as possible and bring back order," said deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto.

The mid-winter timing of the clean-up project is reminiscent of Operation Murambatsvina (Throw out the Trash), which left more than 700,000 people homeless, and affected more than two million throughout the country.

Murambatsvina drew international outrage and prompted the United Nations to dispatch Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who condemned its "indiscriminate and unjustified manner" and "indifference to human suffering."

Mounting resistance

In 2005, informal trader Tichaona Shambare's unplanned dwelling in the western Harare suburb of Kuwadzana was destroyed by army and police units. He has since slowly rebuilt it, but now fears it will again be destroyed.

"I have read in the newspapers that there are plans to launch a clean-up exercise, which will be well-coordinated and will not harm the poor, but I don't believe any of that. We, as the poor people, will be affected, but this time we are prepared to defend our houses and will not allow anybody to demolish them," he told IRIN.

Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said the decision to launch the clean-up campaign could be defended from an urban planning and public health perspective, but "another clean-up exercise could turn out to be very costly politically for the MDC because people will say there is very little difference between ZANU-PF and the MDC," he told IRIN.

Mayor Masunda said the city's long-term plan was to provide low-cost housing to the urban poor.

"When the informal settlements are brought down people will be vetted and deserving cases will be housed in council rented accommodation, while we are also looking at long-term solutions like building more houses."

Mugabe loyalists break up meeting  

Mugabe had been scheduled to open the constitutional conference, but failed to show up

A conference aimed at drawing up a new constitution for Zimbabwe has ended in chaos after supporters of Robert Mugabe, the president, disrupted the proceedings.

As the parliamentary speaker tried to get the meeting in Harare under way on Monday, a number of people stood up singing revolutionary songs before throwing water over some politicians.

"Nothing is going to take place here," one protester said through the public address system, as others ripped off tablecloths, sending crockery crashing on the floor.

Police at the scene took no action against the protesters, who were led by Patrick Zhuwawo, Mugabe's nephew and a member of parliament, witnesses said.

Scuffles broke out on the floor of the meeting as the protesters were challenged by angry members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is led by Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister in the power-sharing government.

[b]Head injuries[/b]

The MDC later said that one of its councillors had been badly hurt in the clashes.

"Gilson Chitakunye, today sustained serious head injuries after he was brutally assaulted by Zanu-PF thugs who violently disrupted the All Stakeholders Constitutional Conference in Harare," a statement said.

Tensions were high even before the opening of the meeting, with supporters of Zimbabwe's two political rivals sang songs denigrating each other.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a unity government in February in a bid to end deadly political violence that erupted after last year's disputed presidential elections.

Under the power-sharing deal, Zimbabwe is to draft a new constitution that is to be brought to voters for approval in a referendum next year, paving the way for fresh elections.

Both Mugabe, who had been scheduled to open the conference, and Tsvangirai had failed to show up for Monday's meeting before it descended into chaos.

Nelson Chamisa, an MDC spokesman, said that Tsvangirai was meeting with Mugabe to discuss the disruption of the meeting by "well co-ordinated Zanu-PF cadres".



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