Zimbabwe: UN agency sets up US$100 000 fund to revive informal sector

HARARE - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has set up an emergency US$100 000 fund to help Zimbabwe's informal sector revive businesses destroyed by the government's controversial urban clean-up campaign.
An official of UNDP Zimbabwe, Katherine Anderson, said a more comprehensive and long-term support programme would be implemented based on recommendations of UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who earlier this month spent two weeks in Zimbabwe assessing the impact of the clean-up exercise.

"In the short term UNDP has immediately set aside US$100 000 to assist the informal traders initiate a process of re-establishing their livelihoods," Anderson said in a statement on Wednesday.

"A programme of support will be formulated that will be based on a comprehensive assessment of the livelihood means of the affected people, as well as based on the recommendations of the UN Secretary General's special envoy, " she added.

UN-Habitat boss, Tibaijuka's report is expected either tomorrow or Monday while UN chief Kofi Annan in a statement earlier this week said he was worried at the humanitarian crisis caused by Zimbabwe's clean-up drive in what UN experts said was indication Tibaijuka's report will be devastating against Harare.

The United States, European Union, Zimbabwean and international human rights groups have roundly condemned the clean-up drive as a gross violation of human rights.

Non-governmental organisations say about 300 000 people were left without food or water after the police demolished their city backyard cottages and shantytown homes. The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party puts the figure of displaced people at 1.5 million.

President Robert Mugabe has defended the clean-up drive as necessary to smash crime and restore the beauty of Zimbabwe's cities.

But the MDC, which is most supported in cities, says the exercise was meant to punish urban residents for rejecting Mugabe and his government in last March's disputed election. - ZimOnline