Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter—
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday said Government’s push for gender equality was neither a cheap political gimmick nor mere rhetoric as hard-working women vindicated the policy. Addressing guests at the 2015 President’s Medal Shoot Competition prize giving ceremony at Cleveland Range in Harare yesterday, President Mugabe said it was pleasing to note that out of this year’s 116 participants, half were women.
“In addition, I am informed that the female participants achieved high marks, doing much better than their male counterparts. This must serve to prove that our call for gender equity is not based on mere rhetoric or cheap political gimmick,” he said. “Hard-working women can go a long way to vindicate our policy which promotes gender representation in all our national activities.”
President Mugabe said the medal shoot was a staff development cum in-service exercise, a self refresher course and a chance for the uniformed forces and civilian participants to renew, improve and resharpen their shooting skills, discipline and endurance. He said the competition re-energises and re-activates participants’ confidence, efficiency, commitment and dedication to duty.
This year the competition ran under the theme “Sharpening Marksmanship Skills in Defence of National Sovereignty and Socio-Economic Development”.
“As patron of the President’s Medal Shoot Competition, I am pleased, in fact highly impressed, with the camaraderie spirit, that characterised and was strongly evident throughout the competition. In spite of being a “shooting competition,” it was held in the most peaceful manner, with a clear display of sportsmanship.
“The participants and the adjudicators are therefore strongly commended for this. Our wish is to see events, such as the President’s Medal Shoot Competition, attracting more participants, from both the civilian and uniformed forces. The more participants we have, the stiffer the competition,” he said.
He thanked the Zimbabwe National Army for hosting the event. Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi commended President Mugabe for his unwavering support for the competition. “The gender balance between and among the participants is indeed a fulfilment of Government’s quest to achieve parity in line with the SADC provisions.
“The significant improvement in participant’s performance is indeed pleasing and an indication of the interest that this show has continued to generate in the security forces establishments and civilians alike,” he said. This years’ overall winner is flight sergeant Albert Matsikiti, who walked away with a cash prize, the Independence trophy and two domestic flight tickets.
Corporal Locadia Chakwakuka from the Zimbabwe National Army scooped the Nehanda Trophy, a cash price and two domestic flight tickets. Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo, Welfare Services for the War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees Minister Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa and service chiefs were among the guests.