Columbus Mabika and Wellington Dengu
Joint regional military training is an essential tool towards peace and security in Southern Africa and facilitates economic development, a senior military official has said.
Officially opening a week-long Combined Joint African Exercise (CJAX) at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief-of-staff (joint operations and plans), Air Vice Marshal Jasper Marangwanda said joint regional training was in line with Zimbabwe’s Defence Policy.
CJAX is a regional annual event on the calendar of African staff colleges, meant to sharpen the skills of participants in planning peace support operations.
“Joint regional training is in tandem with our Defence Policy, which seeks to support internal Government programmes and regional peace and security initiatives that contribute to the maintenance of international peace and stability,” he said.
“These exercises are an important tool to educate senior officers in joint, multinational and inter-agency peace support operation environments,”
Air Vice Marshal Marangwanda said the exercise was testimony to the special relationship that exists between African nations.
“The conduct of the exercise is not only indicative of the special relationships that exist amongst the Southern African Development Community countries, but also indicative of the continuation of good relations whose foundations are culturally unavoidable,” he said.
He said CJAX aims to achieve an in-depth appreciation of the challenges involved in the planning and coordination of complex multinational peace support operations by applying the African Union peace support operations doctrine and planning principles.
Commandant Zimbabwe Staff College Brigadier Joe Muzvidziwa said the exercise was part of continued peace support operations.
“As a college, we attach great importance to the relationship amongst participating colleges which has been growing over the years. This is a sign of recognition for the role the Zimbabwe Staff College plays in training peace operations in a complex, multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional environment,” he said.
This year’s edition of CJAX is facilitated by the British Peace Support Team and is being conducted simultaneously by the staff colleges of Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with Malawi in attendance while Angola, Ghana, Namibia and Mozambique retained their observer status.