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UN Special Envoy on Habitation to Visit Zimbabwe

The United Nations secretary general’s special envoy for human settlement issues was expected to arrive in Harare today. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka is the executive director of the Nairobi-based UN Habitat agency. She is to prepare a report on the housing situation in the country in the wake of the state crackdown on illegal structures under its controversial operation Murambatsvina.

The government said it welcomes the visit by the UN envoy. The official Herald newspaper quoted Secretary for Information and Publicity George Charamba as saying Harare agreed to the fact–finding mission "against the background of the misplaced hue and cry over the operation and an apparent reluctance by the Western media to acknowledge that government has put in place measures to rehabilitate those affected.”

The Ministry of Finance said it has set aside one trillion Zimbabwe dollars to mitigate the effects of the clean-up, including building homes for the displaced. The government said it has created an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate aid. But executive director Arnold Tsunga of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said the move was just a smoke screen for the benefit of the envoy.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked Mr. Tsunga what he hoped to see develop out of the envoy’s mission to Harare.