Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Landmines cost Zimbabwe millions

Landmines cost Zimbabwe millions

Friday, 17 June 2011 09:23

Paidamoyo Muzulu

ZIMBABWE is losing millions in potential revenue from tourism, timber and 
tea plantations because of more than 68 square kilometers covered by land 
mines planted during the liberation war in the Eastern Highlands.

Colonel Mkhululi Ncube from the Zimbabwe National Army made these 
revelations to parliament while giving evidence on Zimbabwe’s compliance 
with the Ottawa Treaty which bans the manufacture, hoarding and use of 
anti-personnel mines.

More than 850km of Zimbabwe’s borders were covered with anti-personnel mines 
planted by the Rhodesian army to stem the flow of freedom fighters from 
entering the country from their bases in Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana.

Ncube said Zimbabwe was not fully benefiting from the Great Limpopo 
Transfrontier Park, encompassing Gonarezhou National Park, the Kruger 
National Park of South Africa, and Gorongoza of Mozambique, as some sections 
of Gonarezhou are littered with landmines.

“Plantations in the Eastern Highlands, such as Stapleford, are failing to 
harvest mature timber or expand their tea estates because over 68,9 square 
kilometers of land in the region still has undetonated anti-personnel mines 
and other military ordinance,” said Ncube.

“Due to inadequate funding, we are failing to complete the demining of 
Gonarezhou National Park sections such as Sango. This is affecting the 
country’s earnings from the tourism receipts in the Great Limpopo 
Transfrontier Park.”

Ncube said the country would not meet its obligations under the Ottawa 
Treaty without financial and material support from the international 
community. Zimbabwe has been given an extension to complete its demining 
programme by 2013.

“At the current rate of demining, the process would take us between 30 – 50 
years. From the onset, we were not going to fulfill the Ottawa obligations 
on our own. We did sign the treaty because of the support and encouragement 
from donors and non-governmental organisations,” Ncube said.

The country needs about US$100m dollars to complete landmine clearance in 
five remaining areas across the country. The areas include the 335 km 
stretch between Mkumbura and Rwenya, 50 km at Sheba, 3km at Burma Valley, 
75km at Rusitu-Muzite and 53km at the Sango Border Post.

Ncube told the House that the army had recorded some success stories in 
demining, like the clearance of the 220 km stretch between Victoria Falls 
and Mlibizi which created new land for expansion of the resort town. In this 
area lies the Zambezi National Park.

“Expansion of Victoria Falls town was severely affected in the past but the 
clearance of 220km from 1998 to 2005 has created new development areas for 
lodges, residential areas and expansion of wildlife parks,” Ncube said.

Ncube decried the withdrawal of funding by Western governments in 2002 at 
the height of the chaotic land reform programme saying the demining was 
severely affected after the US and UK pulled out because these two countries 
played a significant role in demining after Independence.
The US and UK had supported demining by providing demining equipment and 
training of military engineers.


New Posts: