Takunda Maodza Manicaland Bureau Chief
WAR is not a football match, so it is important for Zimbabweans to cherish the peace prevailing in the country, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Secretary, Ambassador Mark Grey Marongwe, has said.
He was speaking during the handover ceremony of land that was demined by the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) along the Zimbabwe/Mozambican border on Thursday last week.
Almost 40 years after independence, Zimbabwe is battling the after effects of war, with areas along its borders with Mozambique still infested with landmines planted by the Ian Smith’s Rhodesian regime. It is believed Zimbabwe has over three million landmines and a number of people and animals have either been killed or maimed after stepping on them.
“I need to say a few words about the reason why we are here,” said Ambassador Marongwe.
“We are talking about de-mining and this is 39 years into independence. We take the peace we are enjoying for granted. I have heard some people over a drink saying they will go to war. They believe that war is like a football match which starts at a given time, the sides are in different uniform, there is a referee and after 90 minutes everyone goes home.”
Ambassador Marongwe said war had no winner or loser.
“War is not like that,” he said. “It is fought in our houses, in our villages, everywhere, amongst our children, our daughters, the old. It affects our animals, and everything.
“In fact, what I am trying to emphasise here is that we are still coming to grips with the consequences of a war that ended nearly 40 years ago. 40 years does not look like a longtime, it is quite long.” Ambassador Marongwe said peace in Zimbabwe came as a result of sacrifices.
“I remember I was barely 20-years-old crossing the border into Zimbabwe from Mozambique, it was around February 1976 when the Mozambican war front was opened and up to today we are still feeling the effects of that war,” he said.