Skip to comments.Children Die Beneath Mugabe's Bulldozer
Posted on 06/23/2005 7:13:47 PM PDT by blam
Children die beneath Mugabe's bulldozers
By Alistair Leithead in Harare
A piece of red plastic tape flutters from a post outside the remains of Lavender Nyika's home in Tafara - a place outside Harare which means "we are happy".
But there is little happiness here. The tape is a traditional sign representing a loss in the family, and while hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have lost their homes, few have lost a daughter.
Lavender Nyika's daughter Charmaine was crushed to death
Charmaine was two years old and inside the family home when the police came with their bulldozers and levelled the house.
All that is left is the foundations, a pile of rubble and a small dirt grave with a wooden cross and a girl's name scrawled on the back of a piece of scrap metal.
"The police came. They had been sent to destroy the house," said Herbert Nyika, Charmaine's father. "They knocked down the building, the walls; they smashed everything. This was when our child was trapped inside. She died there." Her mother, Lavender, said: "I blame the government because it is they who instructed the police to do what they did. It is terrible. I have lost my daughter in such a strange way."
She added: "Of course they have managed to clean up the city but at the same time they have brought suffering to the people - property destruction, homelessness and now the death of a child."
The family is poor and their home was a small building in the back garden of a bigger house.
The Zimbabwean government has spent the past few years targeting white farmers, those with land and wealth; now it seems to be picking on the poor.
The Zimbabwean press yesterday admitted that two toddlers had died in the demolition drive - Charmaine, two, who died two weeks ago, and Terence Munyaka, 18 months, who died on Sunday from head injuries. As outrage rose around the world, the Zimbabwean police called on its officers to exercise more care. In London Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said on behalf of the G8 countries: "We call on the government of Zimbabwe to abide by the rule of law and respect human rights."
Every day in Harare, in Bulawayo, in the towns and cities of Zimbabwe, police in riot gear are systematically moving from suburb to suburb forcing people from their homes. Bulldozers with their buckets raised are silhouetted on the skyline.
The scale of the clearance is so great there is too much work for the police to do - they are now forcing the people to destroy their own homes, or charging them a fee for demolition. On the roads are wheelbarrows piled high, trucks overloaded with cupboards, beds, mattresses - thousands and thousands of people making their way somewhere, but there is nowhere to go. Many are living in the open - their furniture arranged around them as if the walls were still there.
In Bulawayo, under the cover of darkness, a group of people huddled around a fire, a large pot of maize meal bubbling away on a wood stove. "They came to my home and they burned it down," one man said as he took his turn stirring the pot.
"They say they have a strategy, they say they are clearing up the towns," he says, confused as to why his home was destroyed, but too scared to speak against the government.
Old women, sick men and young mothers drag their mattresses inside the church hall, their few blankets all there is to keep away the bitterly cold African winter air.
The churches are full, their lavatories are overflowing, the people have nowhere else to go and so the government has created a solution. Well over 2,000 people have been moved to Caledonia Farm, a resettlement camp outside Harare, with no clean water, sanitation or access to food.
The entrance was blocked by police. Intelligence agents mingled among the poor and the homeless. We crept in through the bush to catch a glimpse of the camp, knowing to be caught would mean a two-year prison sentence.
Again people had arranged their furniture around them, huddled together under plastic sheets and blankets. A desperate mass of humanity forced from their homes by the government.
Some say the reason is political retribution, to punish the urban electorate for voting for the opposition.
Others say it will scatter the angry and dispossessed before the seeds of revolution can be sown; and others look even further ahead. They believe that forcing the people to rural poverty will make them dependent on the state for food and blankets and buy political patronage.
Either way hundreds of thousands of people are homeless, cold, destitute and desperate.
Waiting for the perfunctory Rachel Corrie pancake pics...
Who was the manufacturer? Renault? Will they be boycotted?
I've just read that Mugabe and his thugs have arrested more than 46,000 people since the middle of May. Their crime? Being traders and/or living in a shack.
When is it enough? When will the world wake up to these atrocities?
Put the screws to them like they did to South Africa back in the day. Love these liberals though. They figure on doing nothing since it's just Africa but whoa let something happen in Bosnia!
WTH? I don't understand that.
Have those pathetic, thieving, lying, raping leeches in the U.N. Made any noises like they have an irresistible urge to send a "fact-finding" mission to Zimbabwe?
I thought not...
Before and after images show shanty town clearance in a suburb of Harare.
Where the hell is Medea Benjamin and the other womyn of Code Pink? Where the hell is international ANSWER? Where the hell is Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, George Soros, John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Ramsey Clark, Bruce Springsteen, etc., etc.?
Incredible photos; and where is the liberal outrage?
And then they came for me...
But it's ok because Mugabe not a White guy. (Isn't that how the Left thinks?)
The thing that has me pissed is that the West will be expected to go in and pick up the pieces.
I doubt The Great Ronald Reagan would have allowed it to get this far.
You're doing just fine.
Blame your country.
Even if you've not got two synapses to rub together, and even if you're not an actor, entertainer or sports figure, that is sure to put you solidly in the "caring" camp.
nobody's noticed that the U.S. is busy 24/7 defending itself from murdering muslims, plus friends and foe alike?
Looks like someone is in the process of emulating Pol Pot...
"I want to know where the hell is the US and the UK, I thought we were the leaders of the free world who stood up to the tyrants."
We are in Iraq and Afghanastan....that's where we are. Instead of putting the blame on the U.S. and the UK...you should be placing the blame on the UN! This organization was created for dealing with issues such as this....and have failed at it big time!
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