Pres­i­dent heaps praise on de­fence forces

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Lloyd Gumbo

PRES­I­DENT Mu­gabe has hailed the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces for their role in pro­tect­ing the coun­try and of­fer­ing so­cial ser­vices to crit­i­cal sec­tors.

The Head of State and Gov­ern­ment and Com­man­der-in-Chief of the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces, said the force had trans­formed it­self into a solid en­tity that demon­strated an abil­ity to de­fend the coun­try’s sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said this when he ad­dressed the na­tion dur­ing the 36th an­niver­sary of the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces Day cel­e­bra­tions at the Na­tional Sports Sta­dium in Harare yes­ter­day.

He ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the in­te­gra­tion of Zanla and Zipra forces on one side and the Rhode­sian Forces on the other, af­ter the coun­try gained In­de­pen­dence in 1980 de­spite there hav­ing been mis­trust ini­tially.

“The ZDF’s pri­mary fo­cus is main­tain­ing the coun­try’s peace and tran­quil­ity and en­gag­ing in other nu­mer­ous peace time ac­tiv­i­ties,” said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe.

“The Forces, for ex­am­ple, timeously in­ter­vene in hos­pi­tals, when the reg­u­lar crit­i­cal staff has gone on strike. Re­cently they also have had to res­cue vil­lagers ma­rooned by floods in Muzara­bani, Tsholot­sho and Masvingo.

“In re­cent years of drought, ZDF have as­sisted in the ef­fec­tive move­ment of food re­lief to Zim­babwe’s re­mote ar­eas. This year, as part of the Food Se­cu­rity Task Force, they have been found heav­ily in­stru­men­tal, as they took the lead in the ac­qui­si­tion and move­ment of food re­lief to all the coun­try’s 10 prov­inces,” said the Pres­i­dent.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said to date, the ZDF has moved more than ten thou­sand tonnes of re­lief maize.

He said while the war of lib­er­a­tion ended 36 years ago, Zim­babwe still faced rem­nants of the war such as un­ex­ploded mines par­tic­u­larly along the coun­try’s bor­ders with Mozam­bique, in Sango Bor­der area and Forbes Bor­der area where the ZDF’s fo­cus is on car­ry­ing out de-min­ing ex­er­cises.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said the ZDF had also worked closely with other Gov­ern­ment min­istries and de­part­ments in the course of their peace-time du­ties.

“Cur­rently, ZDF ma­jor un­der­way projects in­clude the con­struc­tion of Enala Clinic in Tsholot­sho, four class­room blocks at Ma­pani Park Pri­mary School in Chakari, Chasiy­a­tende Clinic in Masvingo, four teach­ers’ quar­ters and ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties at Zi­bomvu in Silo­bela, among others,” said the Pres­i­dent.

He said through the op­er­a­tional­i­sa­tion of the African Standby Bri­gade, the ZDF pur­sued and en­joyed mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion, in­ter­ac­tion and ex­change of mil­i­tary skills with neigh­bour­ing friendly coun­tries.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said the Sadc Spe­cial Forces Train­ing Ex­er­cise, code-named “Ma­hombekombe” am­ply demon­strated such co­op­er­a­tion when it drew par­tic­i­pants from coun­tries in the re­gion - An­gola, South Africa, Le­sotho, Swazi­land, Malawi, Mozam­bique, Namibia and Zam­bia last year.

He said the ZDF’s per­son­nel was of­ten de­ployed in re­gional and in­ter­na­tional Peace Sup­port Op­er­a­tions un­der the aus­pices of Sadc, the African Union and the United Na­tions where they have demon­strated the high­est level of dis­ci­pline, which has made the coun­try proud.

“ZDF is cog­nisant of the need to con­tin­u­ously re­view con­di­tions of ser­vice of its mem­bers. In this re­gard, the De­fence Forces re­cently ac­quired a fleet of troop car­ry­ing ve­hi­cles, staff cars and buses, to fa­cil­i­tate the move­ment of per­son­nel to and from their re­spec­tive work sta­tions.

“In ad­di­tion, ef­forts are still un­der­way to pro­vide de­cent ac­com­mo­da­tion to mem­bers of the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces, un­der the Public Sec­tor In­vest­ment Pro­gramme (PSIP) and the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces Ben­e­fit Fund,” said the Pres­i­dent.

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