By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
Washington, 29 June 2005 - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's announcement that Harare has earmarked Z$3 trillion dollars to build homes for those displaced by the state clean-up operation has met with widespread skepticism. Economists and political analysts expressed disbelief that the government could produce funding on this scale or build thousands of homes over a period of a few months. Economist Eddie Cross of Bulawayo, a member of the Movement for Democratic Change opposition party, told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the plan is unrealistic and impractical.
Despite such doubts, and widespread concern over the impact of the operation which the government now says it is concluding, authorities continued to defend Operation Murambatsvina and plans they have announced to resettle thousands in what they call Operation Garikai, or "Settle and Prosper." Zanu-PF information chief Nathan Shamuyarira expressed confidence that the UN special envoy will find that the cleanup did not violate human rights. He added in an interview with reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele that Harare will shortly have the Z$3 trillion in hand, stating that the government has already started building houses in Harare and Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city.