Zimbabwe eviction victims still out of school


Six year after Zimbabwe’s mass slum clearance evicted 700,000 people, many of the children of those made homeless have yet to return to school, said Amnesty International.

In 2005 Robert Mugabe’s government launched its widely criticised “Operation Murambatsvina”, loosely translated as “drive out dirt”, and targeted poor urban dwellers and informal traders it said were living in unacceptable squalor.

In a report, Amnesty said schools destroyed during the drive had not been rebuilt while many parents had lost their livelihood and could no longer afford to pay for their children’s education, Reuters reports.
“The international community should increase its support to humanitarian organisations, to local non-governmental organisations who are running education programmes in Zimbabwe,” Amnesty researcher Simeon Mawanza said at the launch of the report in Harare.

The government has built a few houses for some of the displaced families but has left thousands of others struggling to feed themselves, without decent shelter and basic services like water and sanitation.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, which formed a unity government with Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party two years ago, has previously said the slum clearance was meant to punish urban voters for supporting the MDC.

Amnesty said in the Hatcliffe township north of Harare, where victims are living in plastic shacks and mud houses, some young girls had been forced into early marriage after failing to return to school.
“I decided to get married so that I could have someone to provide for me. I did not want to go into sex work like most of the girls who dropped out of school,” Amnesty quoted a 17-year-old girl, Irene, as saying.