Clean up continues despite Chombo’s promise


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Demolitions of structures, including an industrial complex in Harare, continued under Operation Restore Order despite an undertaking by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo that the operation would be halted for at least 10 days to allow owners to regularise their plans.

Police were reportedly waiting for word from President Robert Mugabe himself before agreeing to suspend the operation.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 05HARARE1006, RESTORE ORDER UPDATE: DEMOLITIONS CONTINUE,

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

05HARARE1006

2005-07-22 16:43

2011-08-30 01:44

SECRET

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

221643Z Jul 05

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001006

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FOR DAS T. WOODS

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/22/2015

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM EAID ECON ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: RESTORE ORDER UPDATE: DEMOLITIONS CONTINUE,

RETURNS START

 

REF: A. HARARE 991

 

B. HARARE 980 AND PREVIOUS

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Eric T. Schultz under Section 1

.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (S) Despite the Government,s announcement of the

suspension of Operation Restore Order, demolitions continue

sporadically in Harare, including the destruction of an

industrial complex on July 18. The police are reportedly

waiting for word from President Mugabe himself before

agreeing to suspend the operation. In Bulawayo yesterday,

press reports and local Embassy contacts indicate that police

went to churches where displaced people had been staying and

forcibly removed them to a transit camp. On a more positive

note, the Government began returning some of the families

displaced from Hatcliffe to their original home plots after

determining that they had had valid lease agreements, without

however making any provision for their humanitarian needs.

End summary.

 

——————–

Demolitions Continue

——————–

 

2. (S) Despite Local Government, Public Works, and Urban

Development Minister Ignatius Chombo,s official announcement

on July 15 that the Government would suspend Operation

Restore Order (ref B), Embassy staff receive continued

reports of demolitions around Harare. Sensitive reporting

has indicated that the police are waiting instructions from

President Mugabe himself before suspending the operation.

 

3. (C) On July 18, poloff and polasst visited the Kopje

neighborhood of Harare after hearing reports that police were

demolishing an industrial complex.   Employees of an auto

parts provider and a coffin manufacturer, all Zimbabweans,

said police had torn down the complex on July 18 without

warning and without explanation. An article on the

demolition in the July 19 edition of ZWNews quoted a police

officer saying that they had strict orders to tear the two

businesses and that the police did not take orders from

newspapers, an apparent reference to the July 16 edition of

the official Herald, which carried a front-page article on

Chombo,s announcement.

 

4. (SBU) On July 18, the security guard at an Embassy

residence reported that city employees had been moving

through his neighborhood, near the Harare suburb of Hatfield,

marking houses they were planning to tear down. The

officials were demanding payment of 3.5-4 million Zimbabwean

dollars to avoid demolition. He said that officials had

started marking houses and demanding the fee the same day

Chombo announced the suspension of the operation.

 

 

—————

Bulawayo Update

—————

 

5. (C) In Bulawayo, on July 20, press reports, subsequently

confirmed by local Embassy contacts, indicate that police

trucks went around to churches housing the displaced from

Operation Restore Order (ref A) and forced about 500 people

to a transit camp that had been set up outside of Bulawayo.

The police reportedly told the people they had until the end

of the day to leave and that the camp, which had only

recently been set up, would be dismantled. World Vision

staff told Embassy officers that they went to the camp to

distribute food and were told to leave. Only Zimbabwean Red

Cross staff, the GOZ,s humanitarian assistance provider of

choice, had been allowed to remain. The World Vision

employees added that there were no indications of the

location to which the displaced would be moved.

 

—————————————-

Some Displaced Being Moved back to Homes

—————————————-

 

6. (SBU) The July 21 edition of the Herald announced that

hundreds of the families taken to Caledonia transit camp

returned to their housing plots on July 20, with

transportation provided by the Government. According to the

article, officials in the Harare City Council, the Ministry

of Local Government, and the Department of Social Welfare

&vetted8 the families and determined that many held valid

lease agreements or had legally paid for their plots and

should be given lease agreements. Government would

&assist8 in (re) building houses on the plots as part of

the government,s National Housing Delivery Program. The

displaced families, however, have returned to destroyed homes

and no immediate provisions appear to have been made by the

GOZ for their humanitarian needs.

 

7. (C) In June USAID in conjunction with the World Bank wrote

to the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local

Government, Public Works, and Urban Development, requesting

that the Ministry allow displaced families from Hatcliffe who

had housing plots allocated under a USAID-funded housing

program to return to those plots. USAID and other

international donors are gearing up to provide for the

humanitarian needs of the Hatcliffe families.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

7. (C) The actions in Bulawayo and Harare indicate that

Restore Order may still not be over, despite the South

African pressure. We will continue to monitor GOZ actions

for further signs that it is not observing the announced

suspension of the operation.

SCHULTZ

(17 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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