Tendai Rupapa Senior Reporter
Government is committed to improving conditions of service for members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), especially in the area of institutional accommodation, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Addressing joint command staff course number 30 graduates at Zimbabwe Staff College yesterday, President Mnangagwa, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the ZDF, said Government could leverage on abundant engineering skills in the sector to achieve this undertaking.
“I am aware of the challenges you are currently facing and wish to assure you that my Government will do everything in its power to improve the conditions of service for the defence forces. As the economy improves, it also gives us the room to improve your conditions of service, particularly in the area of institutional accommodation where we can leverage on the abundant engineering skills among the ZDF members,” he said.
President Mnangagwa reiterated that the new era would be dominated by robust and fast economic recovery programmes, saying his priorities would be to effect cost-cutting measures, stamp out corruption and plug all resource leakages. He said the ZDF had demonstrated the overarching need to preserve national security in its various forms through continuous training and widening of professional competencies.
“I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the ZDF, in general, for effectively carrying out their constitutional mandate of maintaining peace and stability within our motherland, Zimbabwe. Such emphasis on training and development has over the years enabled the ZDF to develop a wide range of critical skills across both public and private sector administration,” he said.
“The ZDF has excelled and earned high national, regional and international repute in their role as guarantors of peace and security.”
He urged the ZDF to preserve the African culture and maintain their identity.
“I, therefore, salute the Zimbabwe Staff College for taking the initiative to inculcate moral and cultural values into the mindsets of student officers so that they conscientiously discharge their responsibilities to the wider communities that they serve,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said he was happy that the Staff College was keeping abreast with modern academic developments.
“The College has, in line with other military colleges across the globe, incorporated basic studies in national security in its Joint Command and Staff Course curriculum,” he said.
“It is therefore pleasing to note that 41 of the graduating students also graduated with diplomas in Defence and Security Studies from the University of Zimbabwe. I am confident that this additional qualification will further enlighten the officers and enable them to easily tap into contemporary civic-military developments.”
He further added that the objective of the course was to nurture the officers’ skills in preparation for the assumption of enhanced responsibilities in command and staff matters. President Mnangagwa also took time to thank countries like Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia for hosting the graduands during their one week external study tour.
He further extended his gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for providing invaluable technical assistance to the Staff College through the secondment of professional staff at the institution.
Of the 54 students, 28 were from the Zimbabwe National Army, 10 from the Air Force of Zimbabwe, two from the President’s department. The Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services provided one student each. The remaining 12 are from other sadc allied countries, as well as the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Squadron Leader Alex Chiduwa from the Air force of Zimbabwe was the overall best student. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Defence, Security and War Veterans Cde Kembo Mohadi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Martin Rushwaya, ZDF Commander General Constantino Chiwenga and other service chiefs.