Zimbabwe

UN special envoy to evaluate Zimbabwe's cleanup operation

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HARARE, Jun 21, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- A UN special envoy will shortly arrive in Zimbabwe to study the impact of the ongoing cleanup operation, said a statement issued Tuesday by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

According to the statement, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had appointed UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Kagumulo Tibaijuka, as his special envoy for human settlement issues in Zimbabwe.

"President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has agreed that the special envoy should visit the country to study the scope of the recent evictions of illegal dwellers, informal traders and the squatters; and the humanitarian impact it has had on the affected population," UNDP said.

It said Tibaijuka would visit Zimbabwe shortly and would prepare a thorough report on the situation.

The cleanup operation, which started in Harare about a month ago to rid the city of crime and dirt through the destruction of illegal business and accommodation structures, has since spread to other cities and rural areas.

The operation being carried out by Harare City Council in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, has also seen the rounding up of street vendors and street people.

In Harare, most of those displaced by the exercise have been taken to Caledonia farm, a transit camp on the outskirts of the city, where they await relocation to their rural homes or alternative places to stay.

The exercise has also seen council officials close down some buildings in the city center where people were conducting business under overcrowded and unhygienic conditions.

The operation is also going to target businesses that are operating from houses in the suburbs, the city council said.

The police meanwhile announced on Monday the banning of urban agriculture which was causing untold environmental damage and damage to water pipes.