Army on high alert:  ZNA Commander Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo

Wellington Dengu and Yeukai Tazira
The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) will remain committed to undertaking training needed to meet threats from hostile elements using violence to disturb peace in the nation, ZNA Commander Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo has said.

Officiating during the wings parade at Parachute Regiment at Inkomo Barracks last week to confer parachute insignia on 30 soldiers of the special forces units who completed the parachute course, Lt-Genl Chimonyo said the ZNA will not be deterred from perfoming its constitutional mandate of providing security to Zimbabwe.

“Your graduation comes at a time when the organisation is facing a number of resources challenges but in spite of that, your successful completion of this training today represents the ZNA’s awesome determination of ensuring that its members are prepared to defend the country against all forms of threats through meaningful training,” said Lt-Gen Chimonyo.

“These continuous attacks are meant to scare us and hence force us to dance according to their tune. As a nation we are, however, not scared, more so when we have warriors who are determined to give their lives in defence of our country,” the ZNA Commander said.

Lt-Gen Chimonyo applauded the special forces for their dedication to duty by training with limited resources.

“Today in conferring wings to you graduands, we are not only celebrating your achievements but also your commitment to the total and selfless defence of the country. As members of Zimbabwe’s elite troops, you are among the first to deploy on the ground in all our operations and it is therefore important for you to clearly understand your unique and prestigious role,” he said.

Lt-Gen Chimonyo also applauded the people for defending the nation through uniting and speaking with one voice during the recently held anti-sanctions campaign.

“The people of Zimbabwe supported the Southern African Development Community (SADC), reminiscent to the days of the liberation struggle, rose up to call for the lifting of the illegal sanctions that were unfairly imposed on our Motherland.”

“The stance taken by our people against sanctions as seen during the anti-sanctions march on October 25, 2019 complements the purpose for our existence as members of the ZNA and specifically your existence as members of our elite forces.

Meanwhile, the ZNA says it will continue to deploy personnel to Chimanamani to speed up the reconstruction of bridges, infrastructure and foster development in the Cyclone Idai-affected areas.

Speaking during a combined graduation at the Zimbabwe School of Military Engineering (ZSME) in Harare last week, Brigadier-General Staff, Brigadier-General Steven Gwekwerere said the ZNA will train more engineers to be deployed in cyclone-hit areas to expedite development.

“The engineers who have graduated will go to Chimanimani to increase the number of engineers who are working with the South Africans in order to repair infrastructure that was destroyed during Cyclone Idai which hit the area. ZNA has been doing this for long as part of military aid to civil authority,” he said.

Reconstruction of the destroyed areas remains a top priority for the ZNA and Government, hence the army will continue to train more engineers to boost the required strength of manpower that can effectively quicken the exercise,

He said the engineering courses remained at the core of training for the ZNA

Brig-Gen Gwekwerere said the ZNA would continue to help civil communities in times of disaster as part of its constitutional mandate.

The ZNA played a critical role in the evacuation of pupils at St Charles Lwanga School in Chimanimani when Cyclone Idai which hit the area in March.

As a gesture of regional military cooperation, the South African government donated two Baily bridges which the SANDF engineers, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel D Ncjoko, to work with their ZNA counterparts to lay over Rusitu and Nyahode rivers in Chimanimani district, which upon completion would assist in improving accessibility to the areas.

In a separate development,  42 soldiers graduated at Kaguvi Barracks last week after completing a four-month basic stores course.

Presiding over the graduation, ZNA Clothing Factory manager Lieutenant-Colonel Caroline Hunidzarira urged the graduates to put to good use the knowledge obtained during training.

“You need to practise so that you gain more experience from what you learnt during the course,” she said.

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