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Zimbabwe Authorities Pursue Forced Evictions & Demolitions


Zimbabwean local authorities continue to evict families by force and destroy dwellings, despite declarations by the Harare government going back to late 2005 saying that the "clean-up" campaign called Operation Murambatsvina had been halted.

One lawyer representing residents quoted a local official as saying the latest drive was a continuation of Operation Murambatsvina, Shona for "Drive Out Rubbish."

The latest round of evictions took place at Porta Farm Extension outside Harare. The residents of the exurban settlement were given 24 hours to leave their dwellings.

Attorney Tafadzwa Mugabe of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said 37 families at Porta Farm were displaced by the Kuwadzana district council before the action was halted upon issuance of a court order sought by legal defenders. He said officials told him that the evictions were intended to mop up after Operation Murambatsvina.

The three-month forced-eviction and demolition campaign, waged by national and local authorities, left some 700,000 people homeless or without livelihoods or both, said a report presented to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

In Harare's heavily populated district of Epworth, dozens of families were evicted and their homes destroyed last month before a court order stopped the operation.

The Combined Harare Residents Association said dozens of families in Glen Norah, another Harare suburb, were evicted in August and taken to Caledonia Farm, a resettlement camp some distance outside the capital.

Attorney Mugabe told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that some evictions were conducted in areas spared in the 2005 campaign.

More reports From VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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