President commends ZDF for community development projects

10 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
President commends ZDF for community development projects President Mnangagwa

The Herald

ADDRESS by President Mnangagwa at the 42nd Defence Forces Day commemorations.

It is my singular honour to preside over the 42nd anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Day. 

This is the first time since 2019 that we are physically hosting these celebrations due to restrictive measures my Government had to take in order to protect citizens from the Covid-19 pandemic.  Our gathering today is, therefore, testimony of the great strides Zimbabwe has made in the fight against the pandemic.

It is noteworthy that in addition to Government efforts, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in partnership with other arms of Government and partners successfully protected its members and their dependants against the impact of the pandemic. This also culminated in the production of personal protective equipment.

These commendable efforts did not only contribute to the successful containment of the virus but also contributed to the nation’s import substitution agenda, through which the country saved significant amounts of foreign currency. Today, we are joined by special delegates from the Botswana Defence Forces, comprising members of their Soccer Select team and Traditional Dance Troupe. 

We sincerely welcome you to Zimbabwe and in particular to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day celebrations. Please feel at home and help us celebrate the achievements of our gallant sons and daughters serving in the military.

Every year as we gather for this event, I recall the involving process of integrating cadres from ZANLA and ZIPRA, together with their erstwhile nemesis, the Rhodesian Forces.

However, against all odds, the ZDF was successfully established as a united institution with the single vision of defending Zimbabwe, its independence, people, sovereignty, territorial integrity and natural resources. We take particular pride in that the unification of the ZDF is a result of the values and ethos that drove the liberation struggle. Today our people enjoy a united country with institutions that are representative of this unity, irrespective of one’s tribe, ethnicity or region.

I commend the ZDF for their various community development projects, which is in line with their peacetime mandate to embrace development by extending a helping hand to communities.

As has become the norm, last week the Zimbabwe Defence Forces conducted a week long community assistance programme, where they showcased their assistance projects in various communities. In this regard, a total of five projects, including maternity wards, clinics and classroom blocks were handed over, with several others still at various levels of completion. This dovetails with the Second Republic’s quest to realise development which leaves no one and no place behind. 

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces also continue to provide invaluable support to civil ministries in their national development objectives. In that regard, the ZDF Construction Regiment is assisting various ministries and departments in constructing and refurbishing critical infrastructure. Some of the projects underway include the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe Nuclear Sources Waste Disposal Facility, Bindura University of Science Education Sports Academy and a two storey office complex for the Research Council of Zimbabwe.

Government is alive to the need to constantly review the remuneration and conditions of service for the uniformed forces, alongside those of the rest of the civil service.

In an effort to improve the welfare of ZDF members, Government has reinstated the Military Salary Concept, and is also working on improving the transport and accommodation situation for the defence forces. To date, buses have been provided to the ZDF and more will be disbursed in the future.

With regards to the provision of institutional accommodation, the ZDF is in the process of constructing housing units for members across the country. During the period under review, the ZDF Construction Regiment completed 60 housing units at Dzivarasekwa, with an additional 90 at various stages of completion. At Imbizo Barracks 30 out of the 44 blocks of units are under construction and expected to be complete by year end.

In the same vein, Government has embraced new technology to speed up the provision of housing units. A total of 130 blocks of 12 flats are under construction at Dzivarasekwa and at Imbizo Barracks. Meanwhile, the construction of an officer’s mess at Jason Ziyapapa Moyo Air Force Base is expected to be complete by year end.

Other projects underway include the renovation of six ZDF camps namely; Charles Gumbo Barracks, one Air Defence Artillery Regiment, one referral Hospital, 1.3 Reserve Force Battalion, 3.1 Combat Group and 3.3 Reserve Force Battalion. Preparations for the construction of permanent structures at 1.3 and 3.3 Infantry Battalions in Plumtree and Chipinge, respectively, are ongoing.

Government is also keen on providing the ZDF with an efficient health delivery system through the expansion of Manyame Hospital to referral status. The project is now 95 percent complete.

Furthermore, my Government is implementing a raft of measures to instil confidence, strengthen demand for local currency and foster market discipline.

Internationally, the ZDF continues to fulfil its obligations of contributing to international peace and stability through bilateral and multilateral engagements. In that regard, the ZDF has deployments on peace support operations under the auspices of the African Union and United Nations.

As a nation, we are doing well with regards to mainstreaming pro-gender policies. It is heartening to note that 55 percent of the total ZDF contingent deployed on United Nations missions are women, which far surpasses the 18 percent requirement set by the UN.

The deployed officers are doing the nation proud due to their exceptional performance during these missions. It was only recently that Major Winnet Zharare was conferred with a commendation medal and the 2021 United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award. This was in recognition for her exemplary performance during her deployment as a military observer in South Sudan.

As a member of SADC, the AU and UN, Zimbabwe remains committed to contributing to international peace and stability and will continue moulding and training the ZDF and other security services to perform well in such deployments.

In this regard, my Government will ensure that the officers, men and women of the ZDF are continually trained, well equipped, and disciplined, including sending some officers, men and women for training in friendly countries, so that they can effectively respond to potential threats to national security.

It was only last week that I officiated at the Zimbabwe National Defence University’s Third Graduation Ceremony, some of whose courses equipped students with the requisite tools for analysis through a sound grounding on national defence and security strategic concepts.

It is also pleasing that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces continue to benefit immensely from co-operation with friendly countries through military training exchange programmes as well as training assistance offered by allied countries such as China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and Russia.

At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe inherited landmines, which were laid by the Rhodesian Forces to inhibit the movement of freedom fighters across our common borders with Mozambique and Zambia.

Government is dealing with this issue, and it is commendable that our demining programme has been ranked among the top three best managed Mine Action Programmes in the world over the past four years.

It, therefore, follows that with adequate funding and other resources, the country is on course to finish the demining race by December 2025. 

The existence of landmines has resulted in some falling victim while others lost their limbs. These victims require attention in the form of rehabilitation, provision of assistive devices and life skills to take care of themselves in light of their disabilities. Allow me at this juncture to extend my gratitude to all the stakeholders for a job well done.

Finally, as the 2023 harmonised general elections beckon, I call upon all Zimbabweans to be vigilant and maintain the stable and peaceful environment that is being fostered under the Second Republic. Say no to violence, disunity, divisions and unrest.

With these remarks, allow me to thank all those who have decided to positively respond to our invitation to grace the 42nd anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day celebrations. We greatly cherish your support as we forge ahead with rebuilding our country in line with the philosophy, ‘Nyika inovakwa nevenevayo / ilizwe liyakhwa ngabanikazi balo.’

I wish you all a happy 42nd Zimbabwe National Defence Force’s Day celebrations!

Long live our Defence Forces.

Long live Zimbabwe.

Long live our Freedom.

God bless you.

God bless Zimbabwe.

I thank you.

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