Say no to violence, disunity – ED

By Justin Mahlahla

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on Zimbabweans to maintain peace and be vigilant ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.

The President, who was speaking during the 2022 Defence Forces Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium this Tuesday, said, “As the 2023 Harmonised General Elections beckon, I call upon all Zimbabweans to be vigilant and maintain the stable and peaceful environment that is being fostered under the Second Republic. Say no to violence, disunity, divisions and unrest.”

He praised the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for diligently protecting the country and its people, after having been successfully established as a united institution with the single vision of defending Zimbabwe, its independence, people, sovereignty, territorial integrity and natural resources.

“We take particular pride in that the unification of the ZDF is a result of the values and ethos that drove the liberation struggle. Today our people enjoy a united country with institutions that are representative of this unity, irrespective of one’s tribe, ethnicity or region,” said President Mnangagwa.

“As a member of SADC, the AU and UN, Zimbabwe remains committed to contributing to international peace and stability and will continue moulding and training the ZDF and other security services to perform well in such deployments.

“In this regard, my Government will ensure that the officers, men and women of the ZDF are continually trained, well equipped, and disciplined, including sending some officers, men and women for training in friendly countries, so that they can effectively respond to potential threats to national security,” he added.

The President noted that some of Zimbabwe National Defence University’s courses equipped students with the requisite tools for analysis through a sound grounding on national defence and security strategic concepts.

“It is also pleasing that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces continue to benefit immensely from cooperation with friendly countries through military training exchange programmes as well as training assistance offered by allied countries such as China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and Russia.”

President Mnangagwa commended the ZDF for their various community development projects, which is in line with their peacetime mandate to embrace development by extending a helping hand to communities.

He said, “As has become the norm, last week the Zimbabwe Defence Forces conducted a week-long community assistance programme, where they showcased their assistance projects in various communities. In this regard, a total of five projects, including maternity wards, clinics and classroom blocks were handed over, with several others still at various levels of completion. This dovetails with the Second Republic’s quest to realise development which leaves no one and no place behind.”  

He added, “The Zimbabwe Defence Forces also continue to provide invaluable support to civil ministries in their national development objectives. In that regard, the ZDF Construction Regiment is assisting various ministries and departments in constructing and refurbishing critical infrastructure. Some of the projects underway include the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe Nuclear Sources Waste Disposal Facility, Bindura University of Science Education Sports Academy and a two-storey office complex for the Research Council of Zimbabwe.”

He said Government is aware of the need to constantly review the remuneration and conditions of service for the uniformed forces, alongside those of the rest of the civil service.

“In an effort to improve the welfare of ZDF members, Government has reinstated the Military Salary Concept, and is also working on improving the transport and accommodation situation for the defence forces. To date, buses have been provided to the ZDF and more will be disbursed in the future.”

Pertaining to accommodation, the ZDF is in the process of constructing housing units for members across the country.

“Internationally, the ZDF continues to fulfil its obligations of contributing to international peace and stability through bilateral and multilateral engagements.

In that regard, the ZDF has deployments on peace support operations under the auspices of the African Union and United Nations,” said President Mnangagwa.

“The deployed officers are doing the nation proud due to their exceptional performance during these missions. It was only recently that Major Winnet Zharare was conferred with a commendation medal and the 2021 United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award. This was in recognition for her exemplary performance during her deployment as a military observer in South Sudan.”

This year’s celebrations were also attended by special delegates from the Botswana Defence Forces, comprising members of their Soccer Select team and Traditional Dance Troupe.