An expert on Human Rights in Southern Africa and a leading campaigner in Zimbabwe, Brian Kagoro is a founding member of the National Constitutional Assembly in Zimbabwe, a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and a human rights and constitutional lawyer. He was formerly the Chair of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.
Since May, the police have swept through informal settlements and townships in Zimbabwe, bulldozing homes, businesses and people. To coincide with Brian Kagoro's visit, ActionAid is releasing the findings of the Harare section of a national survey charting the impact of the so-called 'Operation Clean Up Trash'. This is the first empirical evidence showing the wide-ranging and devastating effect of the clearance policy.
The survey, conducted in 26 wards in Harare, collected the experiences of 14,137 respondents. Amongst other critical issues, ActionAid found that: 76% of respondents lost their homes, 79% lost their sources of income and 60% have suffered food insecurity as a consequence of the operation. Women and children have been left particularly vulnerable. Women headed households constitute 48% of total affected households. Adding to the distress, the ActionAid survey found only 5% of people directly affected by the crisis are receiving any support, in contrast to UN figures of 39% receiving assistance.
Brian Kagoro said: "Until Zimbabwe's crisis is resolved, the country will continue on its current downward spiral, further entrenching poverty and marginalisation. The need to resolve the crisis is increasingly urgent and should not be ignored. There is a moral obligation on the Zimbawean government to ensure that social, economic and political processes and policies do not undermine the livelihoods of the already impoverished."
ActionAid is working in Zimbabwe in four main fronts:
- providing an Emergency Support Fund, for immediate support needs, administered by churches nationwide
- special Interest Groups Fund, to address the particular needs of women (most affected by the crisis) and people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS
- litigation Fund, to seek legal redress for those affected through constitutional challenges, class action, compensation cases and a contempt of court case
- establishment of an information coordination centre through which we are gathering data, conducting policy analysis and gathering case studies.