Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
The National Assembly has endorsed the establishment of the Zimbabwe National Defence University that is expected to enrol security personnel and civilians.
Government wants to transform the National Defence College into a fully-fledged university that is expected to specialise in military training and development of national security strategy.
The 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 players.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Buhera Central, Cde Ronald Muderedzwa, said after gathering evidence from critical stakeholders about the envisaged university, the committee was satisfied that the institution was necessary for the development of Zimbabwe.
They were debating the Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill that seeks to establish the institution of higher learning.
“Your committee strongly supports the Bill and the establishment of the university,” said Cde Muderedzwa.
“Your committee urges the House to support the Bill. Your committee notes that institutions such as military universities are very important for national security purposes hence the need to support the establishment of the Zimbabwe National Defence University.”
The Bill was predominantly debated by MPs with security background.
Cde Muderedzwa is a former Senior Assistant Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
Zanu-PF MP for Buhera West, Cde Oliver Mandipaka who is a former Assistant Commissioner, said the institution was critical in that it would cater for both military personnel and civilians.
“National security is a vital cog in the economic development of the country, so it will be a source of knowledge that is needed inside and outside the military,” he said.
Retired Brigadier-General Callisto Gwanetsa who is the MP for Chiredzi South (Zanu-PF), said persevering peace and security were a prerequisite for development in any country.
Cde Jeremiah Chiwetu of Zanu-PF (Marondera East) said the university would go a long way in containing threats that may face the country whether from military aggression or challenges such as starvation.
Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna said it was important that enrollment targets high school graduates as well.
Goromonzi West MP, Cde Beatrice Nyamupinga added: “We should encourage female participation in this university. We want female officers to go there in their numbers. We don’t want to create a university that will be exclusively for men.”
MDC-T MP for Southerton, Mr Gift Chimanikire who is a member of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services, said the Bill received support from MPs across the political divide.
“The concept does not target the military training only but strategic thinking and planning. This development is very important in terms of where we are going and not where we are coming from.
“What is important to note is that enrolment of the university will comprise 40 percent senior military personnel, 20 percent senior Government officials, 20 percent from the region and seminars for MPs,” said Mr Chimanikire.
Buhera South MP, Cde Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu-PF) said the establishment of the university would see the country save money that Zimbabwe had been paying to foreign institutions of higher learning for the training of military personnel.
Zanu-PF MP for Uzumba, Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, said the establishment of the university would accommodate security personnel from the African continent which was in tandem with the ethos of Pan Africanism.
Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi said it was important for those who enrol with the institution to excel so as to justify its establishment.