Reflections on Zimbabwe’s contribution to world peace as ED goes to the UN

By Albert Chekayi

It is just over two weeks before the 77th United Nations General Assembly opens in New York, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa expected to join other Heads of State at the summit where leaders will be discussing solutions to the challenges bedeviling the world.

While the year 2022 has seen many calamities such as climate change, hunger, poverty, disease and wars inflicting planet earth, President Mnangagwa will attend the UN General Assembly as a proud leader as Zimbabwe has played a huge role in contributing positively to world peace.

President Mnangagwa will also attend the UN General Assembly with his head held high considering his country’s contribution to world peace.

When in May the UN honoured Zimbabwe’s soldier Major Winnet Zharare for her outstanding work during a peace keeping mission in South Sudan, it was just a tip of the iceberg of the exploits done by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) in maintaining world peace.

In the SADC region, peace in Mozambique, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo was only made possible after the intervention of the ZDF. The ZDF defeated the apartheid sponsored Renamo bandits by annihilating their Gorongoza Fortress in 1985.

Renamo regrouped in Northern Mozambique but in 1987 the ZDF hit the new headquarters in Mutarara forcing Dhlakama Afonso to opt for peace leading to the Rome Accord signed in 1991.

Besides fighting Renamo to the east, the ZDF also helped Umkonto Wesizwe and AZAPO Militias to carry out raids into apartheid South Africa attracting the wrath of the Botha regime that retaliated with bombings at Thornhill Airbase among other assassination missions of ANC cadres who were sheltered by Zimbabwe.

Thus with great sacrifice, loss of lives and a heavy economic cost, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola paid the ultimate sacrifice leading to South Africa attaining freedom in 1994.

In 1993, the ZDF found themselves in the Horn of Africa as Somalia was burning. Many will remember the Black Hawk Down tragedy that befell US troops but the untold story is how American soldiers were saved by Zimbabwean soldiers. After clearing the Bakara Arms Market in Mogadishu to stop terror attacks on weapons and allow the Red Cross to move in, the ZDF went on to secure Mogadishu Airport and thus managed to prevent the annihilation of the retreating American soldiers.

Besides Somalia, the ZDF also participated in peace keeping in Eritrea and Sudan and made it possible for the birth of South Sudan.

The DRC owes its survival to the ZDF who in 1998 intervened to prevent Rwanda and Uganda from overrunning the country and dividing it as plunder before helping to secure peace in Angola. The ZDF also went for a peace mission in Chad.

In 2004, Zimbabwe also foiled a Coup in Equatorial Guinea after intercepting a band of mercenaries led by Mark Thatcher and Simon Mann. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have also helped in peace keeping in countries such as Kosovo, East Timor and Sudan, among others.

President Mnangagwa will thus attend the 77th UN General Assembly in New York proudly carrying the flame of a country that has excelled in building a culture of peace in the whole world.