By Desire Tshuma
The Zimbabwe Mine Action Centre (ZIMAC) and the Ottawa Convention’s Implementation Support Unit organized a three-day national stakeholder dialogue on humanitarian de-mining which kick-started on Tuesday in Harare.
The dialogue was attended by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans’ Affairs honourable Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, His Excellence ambassador of Germany Udo Volts who is also the president of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, Head of Cooperation of the EU for Zimbabwe H.E Frank Porte, Chief Kennias Mukuchansa, Allice Nyengedza a landmine victim, ZDF, government representatives and community representatives.
From left is H.E Udo Volts Germany Ambassador, Alice Nyengedza landmine victim,Hon Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and EU Ambassador H.E Frank Porte
During the deliberations there were testimonies from beneficiaries of the high level of the socio-economic impact of the de-mining programme within the country. This was corroborated by the chiefs representing the local leadership and whose people are directly benefiting from the de-mining operations in the country.
The socio-economic benefits brought about by the mine action programme are also in line with the country’s vision of creating an Upper Middle Income Society by 2030, and achieving United Nations Sustainable goal of eradicating poverty among the communities.
“I am aware that the dialogue has drawn its delegates from as far afield as Europe, America and other parts of the world with the noble objective of deliberating on ways of supporting the Zimbabwe National Mine Programme,” said Hon Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri on her three dialogue closing remarks.
She said Zimbabwe cherishes the support rendered by the European union (EU), and the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. The two institutions funded and facilitated the National Mine Action dialogue and were represented by the EU Ambassador His Excellence Mr Jobst von Kirchmann and the director Mr Jaun Carlos Ruan and other officials.
“The existence of mine contaminated areas presence is synonymous to a war zone. This is because the lives of innocent civilians are always endangered by the mines.
“The civilians are always gripped by the fear of freely moving around for fear of falling victims to the indiscriminate weapons. Such mine affected states like Zimbabwe remain in a de facto state of war until the last mine is removed from the ground,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.