Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: South African church group hits out at Mugabe's house-clearance campaign

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Christian Aid partner - the South African Council of Churches - has just sent an observer team to Zimbabwe, where thousands of homes have been destroyed in 'Operation Murambatsvina'. Their conclusion: this destruction must stop.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) observer team visited several sites in Zimbabwe, including Caledonia Farm holding camp, where Christian Aid partner Christian Care is working. Their shocking report to the SACC committee prompted a resolution to campaign against Operation Murambatsvina - which translates as 'clean up trash'.

The resolution states: 'The SACC is convinced that this operation, as it is inhumanely implemented, causes widespread suffering to the most vulnerable people and further erodes their livelihood.

'The Church of Christ cannot afford to be a silent observer when poverty and homelessness is meticulously and inhumanly unleashed on the people. The end never justifies the means...We conclude therefore: In God's name stop Operation Murambatsvina.

Our failure to act now with other Africans, in standing for the African values of Ubuntu [kindness to others] will have history judge us as accomplices to this human tragedy.'

Partners within Zimbabwe have also spoken out about the suffering the operation is causing. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches said .the clean-up operation 'has resulted in untold suffering where families are left in the open air in this cold wintry weather. The misery that this operation has brought upon the affected people is unbearable.'

The Zimbabwe National Pastors's Conference, which one of Christian Aid partners helped to set up, also made a strong statement calling on the government 'to engage in a war against poverty and not a war against the poor.'

The pastors' conference speaks out about the economic collapse which had driven many people to work as street traders in the first place and calls upon the government to address urgent economic problems.