President Mnangagwa lauds Defence Forces
Harare(New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday said the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) had a key role to play in Zimbabwe’s economic development agenda as they were guarantors of national security.
The ZDF is composed of the Zimbabwe National Army and the Air Force of Zimbabwe.
Officiating at the 39th anniversary celebrations of the ZDF, President Mnangagwa urged the force to remain resourceful and vigilant in guarding against contemporary defence and security threats in aid of efforts to build a new Zimbabwe.
He said moral decadence and social instability were among the factors that could threaten national security.
“I challenge the ZDF to always be mindful of the fact that building and developing a new Zimbabwe requires a force which is loyal, patriotic, reliable and committed.”
“We must endeavor to closely integrate and coordinate economic development with national defence and security. In this regard, I urge the ZDF to take an active part in the local socio-economic development of our grass-root communities,” he said.
“Let us be ready to serve the people and take concrete actions towards their development and the improvement in their quality of life.”
President Mnangagwa applauded the ZDF for their unflinching loyalty since formation and said the force had over the years recorded illustrious and unparalleled achievements in defence of Zimbabwe’s territorial integrity and independence.
“Since the attainment of independence, our country has enjoyed its constitutionally enshrined rights, peace and stability as a result of the loyalty, selfless dedication and sacrifices of these fine men and women of our nation,” he said.
“The ZDF play various roles as part of their peacetime constitutional mandate. They have, as and when requested, supported the maintenance of law and order, border control operations and guarding the country’s key infrastructure and institutions.”
The ZDF, he said, has also played a significant role in the maintenance of international peace and security in several parts of the world including in Angola, Somalia and South Sudan.
Locally, President Mnangagwa said, ZDF medical personnel have been asked to provide services in public health institutions on occasions.
He also commended the ZDF for playing an active role in response to cyclone Idai induced devastation in the Eastern and Southern parts of Zimbabwe early this year.
“The ZDF units remain on sight to this day rebuilding roads, bridges and other damaged infrastructure,” he said.
However, he said in view of the changing security architecture, the modernisation and capacitation of the defence forces was urgent and imperative.
“My government is therefore prioritising the upgrading of equipment as well as facilitating focused training of specialised units in both the army and the air force,” he said.
“The provisions of skills training and raising the forces preparedness in general will also receive my administration’s full support.”
President Mnangagwa also promised to improve the conditions of service of the armed forces to cushion them from the harsh economic climate.
“My government is aware that our defence force is equally affected by the economic difficulties faced by the general citizenry. Efforts are at an advanced stage to reintroduce the Military Salary concept,” he said.
“We shall expedite the construction of accommodation facilities for the armed forces, notable housing projects under construction are the Dzivaresekwa (in Harare) and Mbizo (in Kwekwe) schemes which when complete will provide accommodation for commissioned and non-commissioned officers.”