Tags: Zimbabwe | blitz | victims | houses

Zimbabwe Purge Victims Struggle to Rebuild

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 10:41 AM

HARARE — Four years after her house was demolished in a blitz by Zimbabwe's government, Chipo Chama still lives in a grass thatched shack struggling to find a better home for herself and her two children.

Though she is married to a builder, the 27-year-old housewife has rickety wooden planks for walls and covers her roof with plastic sheeting to keep out the rain in Harare's Hatcliffe suburb -- far from the neighbourhood where she used to live.

"Right now I don't have a housing lot, but we are paying money to local co-operatives (to save for a down payment) so we may get lots to build houses," Chama said.

And she is far from alone. According to official estimates, some two million Zimbabweans in this country of 12.2 million require accommodation.

In 2005, Chama had a sturdy brick and cement house with asbestos roofing, but the government bulldozed it, saying it was illegal and was not fit for human habitation.

The blitz, which was named Murambatsvina -- meaning "Drive out filth" -- left more than 700,000 people homeless and shattered the livelihoods of 2.4 million people whose small businesses were also destroyed by President Robert Mugabe's government.

The police and the army gave only short notice to people to move their property from buildings slated for destruction, causing property losses estimated in millions of dollars.

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Tuesday, 15 December 2009 10:41 AM
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