THE government cannot compensate people maimed by landmines planted during the war of liberation because there is no policy to support such payments, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi has said.
Zimbabweans living mostly in the western and north-eastern border areas with Zambia and Mozambique still fall victim to the landmines 34 years after independence.
Sekeremayi was responding to a question by Beitbridge senator Tambudzani Mohadi in the Senate last week, who wanted to know if the government pays any compensation to victims of landmines.
“As we all know that during the liberation war the Rhodesians planted a lot of land mines along our borders with Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa,” he said.
“The intention was obviously to slow down the movement of freedom fighters into the country, to kill and maim them.
“In terms of monetary compensation, for now we are not yet in a position to do so. It will have to be a policy decision as to how much compensation is paid.
“If one has lost a limb or the lower leg, how much do we compensate? If one has lost a forearm, how much do you pay? If one has lost two fingers, what do you do?
“Those are intricate issues that we will obviously look into, but for the time being, the resources available are mainly earmarked for clearing landmines around the country.”
The most affected areas are Victoria Falls to Mlibizi where 10% of landmines were cleared by the United States government and 29 959 anti-personnel mines were cleared by the local army units.
Mukumbura River is also said to be heavily infested with landmines and an international company — Hallow Trust — was helping with the clearance.