ZDF: The backbone of national consciousness

10 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
ZDF: The backbone of national consciousness It is the ZDF that can help instil the values of national consciousness by leading the rejection of alien values and ideas that seek to reverse the foundations of Zimbabwe’s statehood.

The Herald

Gibson Nyikadzino-Correspondent

Since the late 1980s to date, huge changes have occurred in the geopolitical and economic environment. 

For instance, the collapse of the Berlin Wall opened a period that was believed to be of greater international stability, leading to a perceived major reduction of resources devoted to defence in Western countries.

But for the first time in military history, the year 2022 witnessed an increase in global military expenditure surpassing US$2 trillion and is expected to rise further as European countries beef up their armed forces in accelerating and justifying their proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.

There is an important part that a nation’s defence forces play and their annual budgets present the truth behind such investments. In 2021, the United States approved a military budget of $778 billion while China and India had defence budgets estimated at $252 billion and $72,9 billion, respectively.

In the realm of international politics, the army or the military is (still) seen as a reflection of the nature and strength of a nation-state, and also that in the advancement of states, the military plays a leading role as an institution in political and economic life.

There is no big and crucial asset to a nation than members of its defence forces. All over the world, it has been discovered that over the past three decades, the military forces have been enforcing domestic and foreign policies of their nations and also protecting their citizens.

In essence, the role of the defence forces is huge on the policy front, domestic or foreign, by providing security to the nation’s borders and citizens, planning in the economy, and the country’s institutions. 

The security of a nation’s borders is key and requires large investment to build and maintain.

The same goes for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF). 

The ZDF does not only provide security in times of crisis, but also deters and prevents conflicts that seek to destabilise our peace.

The military is an institution that has expanded beyond its initial goals of offence and defence as generally understood by ordinary people. 

This expansion has come as a defiance to the general and technical perception of what the military represents. 

In modern and contemporary times, the military is a tool for state formation and building, and similarly as the case with the ZDF, it is also a means from which nation-building and cohesion have been promoted.

Nation-building in Zimbabwe, with contributions of the ZDF and the citizens, has been successful for its application has been done under conditions that are conducive to political stability, economic growth and peace. There is, therefore, scope for the ZDF to also be involved in contributing to civic activities, including agriculture, technological investments, business and even in mining activities. 

Nothing creates loyalty and national consciousness more speedily and more thoroughly than having citizens participate in and become members of the armed forces. A nation’s army is a tool of state authority. Its duty is to protect the country from foreign enemies militarily and ideologically.

Guided by liberation values

The Heroes and Defence Forces holidays remind us of the people who died in search of liberty, which we now enjoy, in their absence, while others want to abuse that liberty. 

The ZDF was born in the people’s revolt against settler colonialism, and for today and the future, it ought to be conversant with the values that guided the combatants of the war of liberation. 

The unwavering commitment to safeguard Zimbabwe’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests which remains central to the roles of the defence forces, originates from the commitment by the liberation forces when they liberated the motherland from colonial subjugation. 

Our military men and women are vanguards of Zimbabwe’s revolution and struggle for independence. 

They witnessed the cruelty of the racial regime that haemorrhaged Zimbabwe’s economy, dropped bombs that separated our citizens from their limbs and traumatised children. 

The armed forces still matter in the national fabric of a state.

Touch not the ZDF

There are characters in Zimbabwe’s political landscape whose appreciation of the ZDF is informed with vitriol of the Western countries which provided them with scholarships to advance the interests of the enemy in Zimbabwe.

They pose as “think tanks” on the political scene, when in essence they are propaganda conduits of their Anglo-Saxon masters. 

Of late, they have been calling for a change of “values” in the ZDF through what they term “security sector reforms” with the “assistance of the US and Britain”.

With the changing shape and nature that conflict is taking in contemporary times, moving from conventional to unconventional war, that is from terrorism to cyber warfare, the ZDF should not be shaken or moved by the empty words of “reform” that advance the agenda of Western countries. 

The liberation values that govern the constitution and institution of the ZDF should not be sacrificed on the altar of expediency. As spoken by Thomas Sankara: “An army that has no political training is a potential criminal.”

For the ZDF, the army has training in Zimbabwe’s liberation ideals for those at the fore of its establishment appreciate and know the importance of the national values and aspirations.

The dead know one thing…

Zimbabweans across the globe should pose, reflect and honour those that have sacrificed for the very freedom we enjoy. In our diversity we may never agree at all times but we are united in a shared history of the blood that was shed so that we can all defend the motherland. 

They are patriots engraved in our hearts. Patriotism is not characterised by short and frenzied outbursts of emotion like what Zimbabweans with inclined European puppetry do, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.

In the midst of battle and roar of conflict, some found serenity in death. 

To Zimbabwe’s fallen and living heroes, there is only one reminder: “the dead only know one thing, that it is better to be alive.” 

The heroism of Zimbabwe’s living and departed liberators is exhibited on the national flag that they rendered stainless. Earth may run red with other wars, but Zimbabwe’s heroes and heroines celebrated on this anniversary are at peace.

It is the ZDF that can help instil the values of national consciousness by leading the rejection of alien values and ideas that seek to reverse the foundations of Zimbabwe’s statehood.

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