Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo announced on 15 July 2005, that the government was halting Operation Restore Order (Murambatsvina) for 10 days to allow low-density suburb residents time to legalise any structures that did not conform to their land’s official plans.
That was the end of the operation which was highly unpopular and was generally viewed as a way of hitting back at supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change.
Viewing cable 05HARARE980, GOZ ANNOUNCES SUSPENSION OF DEMOLITIONS
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000980
AF FOR DAS T. WOODS
AF/S FOR B. NEULING
OVP FOR NULAND
NSC FOR DNSA ABRAMS, SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010
SUBJECT: GOZ ANNOUNCES SUSPENSION OF DEMOLITIONS
REF: HARARE 976 AND PREVIOUS ON “RESTORE ORDER”
Classified By: Charge d’ Affaires a.i. under Section 1.4 b/d
¶1. (SBU) On July 15, Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo
announced that the GOZ would halt Operation Restore Order,
the GOZ’s nationwide campaign to demolish “unauthorized
structures” (reftel), for ten days in order to allow
low-density suburb residents time to legalize any structures
that do not conform to their land,s official plans. The
Embassy is unaware of any demolitions in urban or rural areas
that have taken place since the minister,s announcement. We
will, however, continue to monitor the government,s actions.
¶2. (C) Comment: It seems clear that the surprise hiatus came
under duress. Local media reports speculate that the
suspension was the result of last weeks, visit by South
Africa’s new Vice President. The Vice President,s visit was
itself apparently in response to growing disapproval from
fellow Africans of the operation, including especially the UN
Special Envoy,s report, which is expected to be critical,
and the tough statement from the South African Council of
Churches after their visit last week. As much as the respite
is welcome news, even more welcome is the apparent
involvement of the SAG in an effort to moderate the Mugabe
regime and its policies.