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Zimbabwean demolitions leave 1 million homele -

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Zimbabwean demolitions leave 1 million homeless

Reporter: Norman Hermant

TONY JONES: To Zimbabwe, now, where the Government says it has suspended its controversial
demolition policy to allow owners time to register their businesses. But Opposition leaders in the
country say its far too little, too late. They say as many as a million people are now homeless
after months of mass demolitions by the Government.

Norman Hermant reports.

NORMAN HERMANT: Zimbabwe's Opposition says the latest pictures from the country show Robert
Mugabe's demolition campaign has moved beyond urban areas. Here, as a village burns, a mother can
only watch. Her belongings at her feet, her child on her back. And all the while, the police look

The Opposition says as security forces fan out it's the same story across Zimbabwe. The destruction
begins after residents are given almost no notice and ominous warnings.

MAN: The police are going to come here on horses and dogs and they'll beat everybody up and they'll
make sure there's nothing left in this area.

NORMAN HERMANT: Zimbabwe's Government calls this 'Operation Clean-up'. Since May, it's demolished
city markets and entire suburbs. President Robert Mugabe says it's all in the name of restoring
order to Zimbabwe's cities.

ROBERT MUGABE, PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE: The current chaotic state of affairs in undesignated and
crime-ridden areas could not be countenanced for much longer.

NORMAN HERMANT: But critics say it's no coincidence that urban areas have borne the brunt of this
campaign. They are also strongholds of the Opposition.

The scale of destruction can be seen from above. These satellite images show a Harare shantytown in
April and then in June - totally wiped out. No community is immune.

The Opposition says this suburb in Harare, called Hatcliff Extension, was demolished. Only three
years ago, the Government apparently felt very differently about the area.

NEWS REEL: Zanu-PF presidential candidate comrade Robert Mugabe today rounded up his campaign rally
for Harare province with a rally at Hatcliff Extension where 6,000 housing stands were allocated to
individuals and cooperatives.

NORMAN HERMANT: The President even handed out money for the construction of a school, all of it now
gone. Many of the homes that have been destroyed are far from shacks. Substantial houses have been
knocked down, sometimes by their own owners, to comply with Government orders.

No-one is sure how many people are now on the move - homeless. Estimates range from several hundred
thousand to more than a million.

Last month, on a secret visit to Zimbabwe, British MP Kate Hoey was told this is nothing less than
a grand plan by Robert Mugabe to cement his grip on power.

DAVID COLTART, ZIMBABWE SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE: This is a deliberate campaign to drive people
out of the cities into the rural areas where they can be better controlled.

NORMAN HERMANT: Responding to enormous international pressure, Zimbabwe's Government now says it
will build new, better homes to replace those that have been destroyed. But virtually no new
construction has begun and many in Zimbabwe don't know where they'll go, where they'll live, even