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Country Reports
Zimbabwe, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: In 2002, a National Authority on Mine Action was established to formulate a national mine action plan. The Zimbabwe Mine Action Center was formed to coordinate all mine action in the country. In 2002, 85 kilometers of the Victoria Falls minefield were cleared, destroying 16,000 mines.

Mine Ban Policy

Zimbabwe signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 18 June 1998. The treaty entered into force for Zimbabwe on 1 March 1999. It enacted “The Anti-Personnel Mines (Prohibition) Act 2000” in January 2001. Zimbabwe submitted its annual Article 7 update on 13 February 2003.[1]

Zimbabwe attended the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002 and also participated in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. Zimbabwe voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, calling for the universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty on 22 November 2002.

Zimbabwe was not a significant past producer or exporter of antipersonnel mines. It destroyed its stockpile of 4,092 antipersonnel mines in November 2000, retaining 700 mines for training purposes.[2] Zimbabwe’s Article 7 reports, including February 2003 report, indicate that the number of retained mines has not changed, and thus no mines have been consumed in training activities.[3]

A representative of Zimbabwe confirmed to Landmine Monitor that Claymore-type mines are stockpiled by its armed forces, but without tripwire actuating fuzes, because Zimbabwe considers these illegal under the Mine Ban Treaty. Production of two types of Claymore mines, the Z1 and ZAPS types, ended when Zimbabwe gained independence.[4]

Repeated past allegations of the use of landmines by the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been consistently and strongly denied by the ZDF and the Ministry of Defense.[5]

Mine Action Funding, Coordination and Planning

In 2002, the contribution from the national budget for mine action activities in Zimbabwe was a total of Z$10 million (US$190,000). This is double the amount contributed in 2001. The figure increased again in 2003 to Z$40 million (US$760,000). The government states it is committed to increasing its contributions every year after 2003.[6]

After providing more than US$6 million in mine action assistance to Zimbabwe from 1998-2001, the United States did not provide any funds or in-kind contributions in its fiscal year 2002.[7] Zimbabwe did not receive any external assistance in 2002.

The National Demining Office (NDO) was established in 1998 with the assistance of the United States. The NDO coordinates, prioritizes and integrates all demining activities in the country. In compliance with the Antipersonnel Mines Prohibition Act and to fulfill the requirements of the Mine Ban Treaty, in early 2002 a National Authority on Mine Action in Zimbabwe (NAMAZ) was established. NAMAZ is the policy-making body tasked with the formulation of a National Mine Action Plan (NMAP).

Along with NAMAZ, the Zimbabwe Mine Action Centre (ZIMAC) was created. Its role is the management, coordination and facilitation of all mine action activities in Zimbabwe in cooperation with the international community. The NDO, which is an integral part of and falls under ZIMAC, is responsible for demining activities only, on behalf of ZIMAC.[8]

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is working to establish a database on all mine-affected countries in the region. These countries will be able to share experiences, advice and information among themselves and with the international community about national and regional mine action activities. The main office of this database is in Mozambique and will be connected to sub regional offices in Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and possibly Malawi.[9]

A SADC team visited Zimbabwe from 22-25 January 2003 to assess the landmine problem and to assist in setting up the database. The team, which included the Landmine Monitor researcher, visited various mine-affected areas in Zimbabwe.

Landmine Problem and Mine Clearance

Zimbabwe in the past identified seven mined areas that it estimated contained about 1.17 million antipersonnel mines.[10] In 2002, Zimbabwe reported clearance of 85 kilometers of the Victoria Falls minefield, destroying 16,000 mines. This was the only clearance reported for 2002 in Zimbabwe’s most recent Article 7 report.[11] As of early 2003, a total of about 190 kilometers had been cleared in the Victoria Falls minefield and 51,000 mines were destroyed. The Engineers Squadron of the Zimbabwe National Army continues to clear mines in the Victoria Falls, Kazungula, and Binga minefields.

In his opening address to Parliament on 23 July 2002, President Robert Mugabe stated that “in pursuit of Government policy of military assistance to civil authority, Zimbabwe Defense Forces engineers will deepen ongoing efforts to clear landmines from the Victoria Falls to Mlibizi as well as the Gonarezhou Transfrontier National Park. These noble efforts are meant to provide safe habitation for both people and animals and to enable access to land that can be used for economic development.”[12]

In January 2003, the director of ZIMAC stated that mine action is part of Zimbabwe's overall development plans and poverty reduction strategies: “Through reclaiming land cut off or infested with mines, the Government has been reducing poverty by resettling people in productive land; The country's tourism industry is greatly being enhanced through the removal of mines from game parks and tourist attraction areas; Many developmental infrastructures are now possible both in rural areas and economic zones because of the removal of mines.”[13]

According to a former Koch Mine Safe deputy project manager, the Mukumbura minefield, previously thought cleared, still has scattered mines, as the area was not fully cleared in some parts.[14] Koch Mine Safe, which had been contracted to carry out the clearance project, left the area in December 2000, when the contract expired. It had managed to clear 6,523,267 square kilometers and destroy 162,416 antipersonnel mines. Low-lying areas, such as gorges were not cleared because they were not part of the contract. The contract had stipulated that the company dig for mines as deep as 20 centimeters., but due to siltation some of the mines were buried beyond that depth. During the demining process, some new mined areas were discovered, but since these were not part of the contract, they were not cleared. These newly discovered areas were mapped, marked and documented, and the information was forwarded to the Ministry of Defense. There is concern that the Mukumbura minefield has become more dangerous to the local population, who now enter it with unfounded confidence that the area was completely cleared.[15]

Other Demining Activities and Research and Development

A number of demining companies operate out of Zimbabwe. Southern Africa Demining Services Agency (SADSA), formed in January 2001 and headquartered in Harare, is a commercial mine clearance and explosive ordnance disposal company that was involved in mine clearance on Zimbabwe northeast border. In 2003, SADSA has demining contracts in Croatia and Lebanon.[16] Mine Tech is another commercial firm that has completed 133 international mine action-related contracts and, in April 2002, undertook an assignment in Lebanon, as part of Operation Emirates Solidarity.[17] Security Devices (PVT) Limited, based in Harare, produces and improves demining accessories.[18]

Mine Risk Education

The NDO through the ZNA continues to carry out mine risk education (MRE) in schools, growth points, health centers and agricultural shows. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) also assists in MRE programs through personnel based in the mine-affected areas. The NDO carries out awareness campaigns upon request, when incidents are reported, or when the need arises to reinforce MRE messages. Efforts to carry out continuous risk education campaigns are hampered by a shortage of resources.

Landmine Casualties

In 2002, at least nine people were injured in mine/UXO incidents in Zimbabwe.[19] On 25 March, one male was injured in a landmine explosion.[20] On 3 June, a 28-year-old male received facial injuries in a UXO explosion in a cleared minefield in Madyirapamwe. In August, a 14-year-old received lacerations to his hand after picking up an antipersonnel mine in Madyirapanze, and in another incident, a 58-year-old male was injured in the face and hand in an incident near Feredzo Village. In September, a 21-year-old male was injured after stepping on an antipersonnel mine near Kambezo, and in another incident a 78-year-old male was injured after stepping on a mine near Kagona village Nyakatondo. In October, a 17-year-old male from Ramakwebana village near the border with Zambia was injured when an antipersonnel mine exploded while he was herding cattle. In December, a 33-year-old male was injured after stepping on an antipersonnel mine near Borome Farm Glendale. Also in December, a long-distance truck driver lost his leg after stepping on an antipersonnel mine while looking for firewood.[21]

In September 2002, a Zimbabwean mine clearance volunteer lost his hand in a mine accident in south Lebanon.[22]

In 2001, five new landmine casualties were reported, of which two people were killed and three injured. In 2000, there were four reported landmine casualties.[23] According to a UN mission to Zimbabwe in November 1999, since 1980 at least 46 people had been killed and 210 injured in mine incidents. It was estimated that this figure represented only 60 percent of the total number of casualties during this period.[24]

Survivor Assistance and Disability Policy and Practice

The Zimbabwe government covers the initial cost of treating landmine casualties. However, it was evident from field research that there is little follow-up assistance available to survivors.[25] A lack of government funds does not allow for a comprehensive survivor assistance program in Zimbabwe. Assistance for all persons with disabilities, including landmine survivors, is channeled through the Social Dimension Fund of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.[26] There is no single organization providing assistance to landmine survivors, however, some activities are implemented through the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicap (NASCOH) of Zimbabwe.[27]

The 1992 “Disabled Persons Act” makes provision for the welfare and rehabilitation of disabled persons and established the National Disability Board.[28]

In early 2002, the Victims Assistance, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Resettlement Office was established as part of the Zimbabwe Mine Action Center. The office is tasked with establishing and maintaining a mine casualty database, and coordinating activities for the care, rehabilitation and reintegration of mine survivors.[29]

[1] This Article 7 update covers calendar year 2002. Zimbabwe submitted its initial Article 7 report in January 2000 (for August 1999 to January 2000) and an update in April 2001 (for calendar year 2000). Government officials provided Landmine Monitor with a copy of another annual update they indicated had been submitted in December 2001, although the UN has apparently never received it. See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 530.
[2] For details on stocks and retained mines, see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 177; Article 7 Report, 13 February 2003 and 4 April 2001. For information on past production and export, see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 97-99.
[3] Article 7 Report, Form F, 13 February 2003.
[4] Interview with Tom J. Munongura, Director, Zimbabwe Mine Action Center, Geneva, 4 February 2003.
[5] For past allegations of use, see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 177-179, and other previous editions.
[6] Zimbabwe response to a questionnaire distributed by the Norwegian Coordinator of the Resource Mobilization Contact Group, 2 January 2003; Currency Exchange Rate found at www.oanda.com average rate for 2002, Z$1 equals US$ 0.019.
[7] A planned contribution of $314,000 from the Defense Department apparently did not occur. Office of the Secretary of Defense, “Operations and Maintenance Overview, FY 2004 Budget Estimates, Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid,” April 2003, p. 82.
[8] Email from Col. Munongwa, Director, Zimbabwe Mine Action Center, 8 July 2003.
[9] Ibid.
[10] For details of each mined area, see Article 7 Report, Form C, December 2001.
[11] Article 7 Report, Forms F and G, 13 February 2003.
[12] “Text of address by Mugabe at opening of Parliament, 23 July 2002,” The Herald Online (Harare), 24 July 2002, available at: www.herald.co.zw.
[13] Zimbabwe response to a questionnaire distributed by the Norwegian Coordinator of the Resource Mobilization Contact Group, 2 January 2003.
[14] Interview with Brigadier General T. Kanganga, Director, Southern Africa Demining Services Agency and Former Deputy Project Manager, Koch Mine Safe, Harare, 12 February 2003.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Cyril Zenda, "Mine Tech Earns World Honours," The Financial Gazette, 3 May 2002.
[18] Telephone interview with Ms. Oddia Mabika, Secretary, Security Devices, Harare, 19 February 2003.
[19] Information on casualties taken from the National Demining Office, Minefield Database Update, 2000–2002, unless otherwise stated; interview with Dr. Mustinze, Health Administrator, Mt. Darwin Hospital, 13 February 2003.
[20] Fax from Engineers Directorate, Army Headquarters, 8 July 2002.
[21] “Hand Grenade Found in Chitungwiza,” The Herald, 15 December 2002.
[22] “African mine-clearer loses hand in explosion in south Lebanon,” Associated Press, 21 September 2002.
[23] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 536.
[24] UNMAS, “Joint Assessment Mission: Zimbabwe,” 15 February 2000, p. 8.
[25] Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 182.
[26] Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 536.
[27] Article 7, Form J, 13 February 2003; interviews with Farai Mukuta, Director, National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped, Harare, 6 February 2003 and 13 February 2003.
[28] “Disabled Persons Act” 1992; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 182.
[29] Email from Col. Munongwa, Zimbabwe Mine Action Center, 8 July 2003.