Mashudu Netsianda Senior Reporter
THE government has started verifying Zimbabwe’s international borders with four neighbouring countries as part of the African Union Border Programme (AUBP) aimed at demarcating boundary lines on the continent. The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Douglas Mombeshora, said although enough ground has been covered, the main challenge revolved around the demining exercise on the eastern border with Mozambique.
“We have been working on the verification of our international borders. This is something that the AU said must be done by 2017 and a lot of work has been done and we are now left with the southern side that we share with South Africa.
“The Limpopo River makes most of the boundary and so there is no problem,” said Mombeshora.
His ministry is coordinating the exercise. The Minister said on the western side with Botswana there is a small area that is left, which would be completed by 2017.
“On the northern side with Zambia it’s mainly rivers and that is the Zambezi which again doesn’t pose any problem but on the eastern side with Mozambique we have some challenges.
“We have done some few kilometres but as you go further there is a problem of landmines near Nyamapanda border,” said Mombeshora.
He said because of the demining process, the government would not be able to complete the verification exercise on the Mozambican side ahead of the AU deadline.
Mombeshora said he could not say when exactly the process would be completed because it largely depends on the demining exercise which was being done by other security ministries.
Since African countries gained independence, the borders which were drawn during the colonial period in the context of rivalries between European countries and their scramble for have been a recurrent source of disputes.
Most of the borders are poorly defined.
The AUBP was launched by the first Conference of African Ministers in charge of Border Issues, held in Addis Ababa, on June 7, 2007.
The programme is part of the efforts by African States to meet the challenges related to the management of the borders inherited from colonisation.