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Copy of UN Special Envoy's Report Goes to Harare


A much-awaited report by United Nations special envoy to Zimbabwe Anna Tibaijuka on the country’s controversial home demolitions was to be handed to Harare’s U.N. representative on Wednesday and could be made public Friday. The Zimbabwean government was to have 48 hours to review and comment on the report, drawn up by Mrs. Tibaijuka and staff of her Nairobi-based U.N. Habitat organization based on three weeks of observation and interviews with officials, clergy, civic organizations and people made homeless by the campaign.

Mrs. Tibaijuka’s spokesman, Sharad Shankadass, said the report had already been presented to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who commissioned the document and will determine what further actions the U.N. should take. Mr. Annan has urged African leaders to speak out on the Zimbabwe crisis.

Elsewhere, the German parliament urged the Berlin government to ensure those behind Zimbabwe’s blitz against homes and business premises deemed illegal are brought before the International Criminal Court. The Bundestag resolution said Operation Murambatsvina has caused untold suffering among the poor and constitutes "a new dimension of terrorism" against Zimbabweans.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe interviewed Zimbabwe human rights lawyer Otto Saki about the likely impact of the report.

In Zimbabwe, meanwhile, church leaders who gave information to Mrs. Tibaijuka during her three-week fact-finding mission were under pressure from authorities. In Mutare, a city on the eastern border with Mozambique, a Catholic priest and an Anglican bishop were questioned by the Central Intelligence Organization.

CIO agents also turned up at the offices of Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube, an outspoken critic of President Mugabe, though the archbishop was absent.

The pressure being applied by the government reflects apprehension in Harare as to the impact of Mrs. Tibaijuka’s report, political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe told Brenda Moyo of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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