Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Government has explained its decision to transform the National Defence College into a fully-fledged Zimbabwe National Defence University that is expected to specialise in professional military training and development of the national security strategy.
Steering the Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill through the National Assembly on Thursday, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi said the world over national defence universities fell under the Ministry of Defence instead of the Higher Education ministry.
“By their nature, national defence universities are not ordinary State universities but are hybrids of military and civilian institutions of higher learning as well as Government specialised agencies on issues of defence and security,” he said.
Minister Sekeramayi said the Constitution of Zimbabwe mandated the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to protect and safeguard the country’s people, its security, its interests as well as territorial integrity.
“In this regard, Mr. Speaker Sir, the Zimbabwe National Defence University is envisaged to be a national strategic analysis and advisory centre that generates solutions to contemporary and diverse national security challenges that Zimbabwe may face at any given time through the provision of platforms for shared participation by the military, civilian and private sector.
“Mr. Speaker Sir, over the last decade, Zimbabwe has been threatened by the European Union and USA’s illegal economic sanctions and political interference that in turn have necessitated the establishment of an institution with the capacity to analyse national problems and develop a capable human capital base of experts, leaders and professionals as well as innovate and develop newer technologies that protect Zimbabwe, its people and interests,” said Minister Sekeramayi.
He added that establishment of national defence universities was not peculiar to Zimbabwe but an international trend where they were established as military institutions with civilian and military staff complements but wholly administered by the military.
Minister Sekeramayi said the envisaged university had five objectives, among them being the national strategic analysis and advisory institution for defence and security. The university would foster the achievement of national interest objectives through government ministries, departments and institutions.
The institution is also expected to provide higher education and training in national policy and strategy formulation for military and civilian leaders to better address national and international security challenges as well as to nurture and preserve the spirit of unity and patriotism in pursuit of sustainable moral, social and economic growth of the nation of Zimbabwe.
The university also seeks inculcate excellence in research, innovation, geopolitical economies, training and leadership developments, and to input into the Zimbabwe National Security Council outcomes of research on issues of national defence and security.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security is now expected to conduct consultations on the Bill.