ANOTHER transit camp in the mould of the disbanded Caledonia Farm has opened at Hopley Estate where scores of people have been dumped in an open space without any facilities despite government
claims that it has closed all transit camps.
Former Porta Farm residents who were evicted under Operation Murambatsvina have been moved to Hopley Estate south of Harare, where prison officers and police are keeping the inmates under armed guard.
The detainees are not allowed to speak to the media and civic organisations.
Security officers earlier this week prevented the Zimbabwe Independent crew from interviewing residents at the transit camp.
“You do not enter at your own will. You get clearance from the Ministry of Information first before I can permit your entry,” said one the officers.
He said journalists and civic organisations were barred entry into the area.
Ministry officials yesterday refused to comment on the issue referring all questions to the Media and Information Commission (MIC).
MIC officer Munyaradzi Nyamagodo however denied that the commission had issued instructions to shut out the media.
Hopley Estate is one of the three farms subdivided into residential stands to be allocated to evictees under the controversial Operation Garikai.
Living conditions at Hopley Farm, where the displaced have been dumped for the past three weeks, are described by civic groups as “inhuman”.
People are living without shelter while food and water supplies are erratic.
Unicef and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have started providing aid to people at Hopley Estate.
We are assisting these people with 45 000 litres of water every day,” said James Elder of Unicef. The IOM is distributing blankets and food at the transit camp.
Most of the people at Hopley lost their belongings during their displacements to Caledonia.
Caledonia transit camp was closed during the visit last month of UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka to assess the impact and extent of Operation Murambatsvina.
There are no latrines at the new transit camp.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ efforts to visit people at Hopley were also blocked by military personnel guarding the area. US Ambassador to the UN’s FAO and WFP, Tony Hall, was barred entry into the camp by the security officers. Hall also visited Hatcliff Extension where he expressed concern at the situation there.