n Gender and Behaviour - An exploration of the impact of Zimbabwe's 2005 operation Murambatsvina on women and children

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1596-9231



The article considers the impact of an urban clean-up exercise which was carried out by the Zimbabwe government in 2005. It focuses mainly on the impact of the exercise on urban women and children. The methodology of the article is predominantly literature review, and the major findings are that the Zimbabwean state has a long history of targeting and victimising women. Officially known as Operation Restore Order, Operation Murambatsvina was a police-led operation to rid the urban cities of informal structures, both housing and business. However,human rights activists argue that it was a covert operation targeting voters who had shown a preference for the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The ensuing demolition of structures designated illegal had devastating effects on the family unit and, as this article argues, violated the core tenets of sovereignty. The state solution to the demolition, which was in the form of another operation known as Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle, was a failure as it lacked a genuine, legitimate and ethical authority and the political will to remedy the situation caused by Operation Murambatsvina. The paper concludes by noting that the government of Zimbabwe, through its continued and consistent operations that specifically target and affect women, perpetuates male dominance, patriarchy and discrimination against women and children in Zimbabwe.

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