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Hidden Dimensions of Operation Murambatsvina, The

Maurice Vambe

Publication Year: 2008

In his introduction to The Hidden Dimensions Maurice Vambe argues that the treatment of people as 'human dirt' demands the notion of citizenship in Zimbabwe be rethought.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction - Rethinking Citizen & Subject in Zimbabwe

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pp. 1-6

The post-colonial state of Zimbabwe is in the throes of economic, political and cultural crisis. One of the symptoms of this crisis manifested itself between May and July 2005, when the government launched Operation Murambatsvina, described in official circles as a crackdown by government agents on vendors; innocent men and women doing their business. The crisis of legitimacy characterising...

Part One - Historicising Murambatsvina

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1 - Historical Antecedents to Operation Murambatsvina

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pp. 9-24

This chapter seeks to contribute towards an understanding of the Murambatsvina phenomenon by, among other things, tracing Zimbabwe’s economic experience since independence in 1980, from the period of economic prosperity in the first independence decade, through the lean years of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP), and the unfortunate effects of the country’s...

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2 - Coercion, Consent, Context: Operation Murambatsvina & ZANU (PF)'s Ilusory Quest for Hegemony

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pp. 25-39

If Operation Murambatsvina is seen within the context of a long history of ZANU(PF)’s failed efforts to establish its rule as hegemonic – that is, more through consent than coercion and threats thereof – then it is understandable. Rather than being perceived as a sudden and almost inexplicable eruption of violence and terror on behalf of a ruling party shocked at its recent loss of legitimacy

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3 - Discourses of Dirt and Disease in Operation Murambatsvina

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pp. 40-50

Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka’s (2005) report for the United Nations (UN) provides a list of reasons for Operation Murambatsvina, which include, broadly, the notions that it was driven by an economic and social impulse or that it was politically motivated and/or retributive. Since the operation negatively affected ZANU(PF) supporters and detractors alike, there is no easy way to establish...

Part Two - The Hidden Impacts of Operation Murambatsvina

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4 - Displacement and livelihoods: the longer term impacts of Operation Murambatsvina

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pp. 53-64

The immediate impacts of Operation Murambatsvina were unprecedented by African standards in terms of the scale of destruction and livelihoods. One of the stated aims of the campaign was to displace urban residents ‘back’ to rural areas. As evident from the quotations above, a major objective of Operation Murambatsvina was to displace, forcibly, to rural areas those urban people...

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5 - Eschatology, Magic, nature and Politics The Responses of the People of Epworth to the Tragedy of Operation Murambatsvina

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pp. 65-74

Operation Murambatsvina caught many people by surprise, particularly the residents of Harare’s high-density suburbs. This chapter examines the responses of the people of Epworth to the clean-up campaign. The intention of Operation Murambatsvina, as argued by the government, was to rid the country of illegal structures, crime, filthy stalls and squalor. However, this aim was completely...

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6 - Murambatsvina's Assault on Women's Legal and Economic Rights An Inerview with a Cross-border Small Trader

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pp. 75-86

Women’s perceptions of social and historical processes that impinge on their daily lives and businesses matter a great deal. In situations where a culture of fear and intimidation has been bred, people become permanently suspicious of their government. This breakdown of dialogue between a government and its people was manifested through Operation Murambatsvina in Zimbabwe in...

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7 - Bulldozers Always Come "Maggots", Citizens and Governance in Contemporary Zimbabwe

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pp. 87-102

This chapter explores citizenship, citizenship rights and governance in postcolonial Zimbabwe in the context of Operation Murambatsvina. The focus is on how public law reform and coercive public policy has been deployed by nationalist elites to revive a waning hegemony resulting in excessive interference with the rights of citizens. Operation Murambatsvina must be interrogated...

Part Three - Representations of Murambatsvina in Popular Media

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8 - Worlds Apart Representations of Operation Murambatsvina in Two Zimbabwean Weeklies

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pp. 105-117

After winning a crucial election in March 2005 the Government of Zimbabwe embarked on a controversial cleaning-up exercise to spruce up its towns and cities. Code-named ‘Operation Murambatsvina’1, or ‘Tsunami’, the exercise excited the emotions of both the local and international media. This chapter compares and analyses the coverage of the clean-up operation by two Zimbabwean newspapers...

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9 - Cartooning Murambatsvina Representation of Operation Murambatsvina Through Press Cartoons

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pp. 118-134

Cartoons are important tools that can be used to expose policy contradictions and defects in a democracy. A cartoon says ‘more than a sermon of a thousand words’.1 They can ridicule absurdities of political actions or other human frailties in a light-hearted manner. Pomposity, venality, hypocrisy and vanity are often the prime targets of press cartoons. This chapter examines the representation...

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10 - The Chichidodo Syndrome Rehearsals of Operation Murambatsvina in Zimbabwean Literature and Popular Songs

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pp. 135-146

Creative writers and popular singers in Zimbabwe have been sensitive to and critical of the colonial and post-colonial state’s habit of assigning the identity of ‘human dirt’ to those that they consider dissident. The fictional works of Chidzero, Samupindi, Hove and Vera and some of the songs by Chipanga question the notion of describing humans as ‘dirty.’ Creative works place the...

Part Four - Official Responses to Operation Murambatsvina

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11 - The Zimbabwe Government's Responses to Criticism of Operation Murambatsvina

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pp. 149-158

Operation Murambatswina was started by the Government of Zimbabwe on 19 May 2005 and quickly grew to include almost all urban centres in the country. Because of its timing and magnitude, it attracted much attention from both domestic and foreign media, and enjoyed various perspectives in terms of reportage. The prominent media visibility and condemnation from some sectors...

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12 - Reading the 2005 Tibaijuka Report on Zimbabwe in a GLobal Context

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pp. 159-168

The UN-sanctioned report by Anna Kajimulo Tibaijuka (Tibaijuka 2005), remains the most well-known document about Operation Murambatsvina. Both the critics and admirers of the Operation Murambatsvina make references to the report’s ‘authoritative’ status when they make their judgements and arguments, especially in scholarly journals and in the public sphere where the...

Notes of Contributors

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pp. 169-170

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781779221193
Print-ISBN-13: 9781779220714

Page Count: 180
Illustrations: B/W Illustrations
Publication Year: 2008