PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday hailed the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) for playing a leading role in cementing relations with other African states and beyond through peace missions and facilitating education programmes for officers.
Addressing the 35th Graduation Ceremony of the Joint Command and Staff Course held at Josiah Magama Tongogara in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa, in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, said such initiatives cement ties both in the region and beyond.
He said his administration will continue to prioritise manpower development by addressing education and training needs in all competencies to students drawn from across the world.
Students who graduated yesterday were drawn from SADC member states and Nigeria.
“The Zimbabwe Defence Forces continue to excel and earn respect both within and without, and these revelations continue to inspire us.
“I am delighted with the role that our Defence Forces have continued to play in fostering and cementing relations in the sub-region by enrolling students from SADC member states and Nigeria.
“Such an enrolment enhances confidence building measures on the African continent and beyond. The interaction facilitates the cross-pollination of ideas and experiences and cultivates mutual trust among the Defence Forces.
“The year 2022 has been much better in terms of challenges of Covid-19 pandemic which had negatively affected all the sectors,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said he was delighted that the students toured regional member states during their studies – a week-long programme that had been suspended in the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The programme was aimed at broadening the students’ conceptualisation and comprehension of the political, social, economic, cultural and civil military relations that exist in different parts of the sub-region.
Through this programme, the students visited Botswana, Eswatini, Lesetho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia as part of the geo-political study package.
“Such valuable experiences promote an in-depth appreciation of international relations, which fundamentally guide how we interact and live.”
“Zimbabwe, as a member of the global community, remains committed to the contribution of international peace and stability.
“Our foreign policy is anchored on being a friend to all and an enemy of none. This has seen us embarking on a re-engagement process with our erstwhile adversaries,” President Mnangagwa said.
The Zimbabwe Staff College participated in the combined Joint African Exercise Uhuru which took place from 4 to 9 September 2022 to deliberate on issues facing the region.
During the programme, Zimbabwe joined other colleges of SADC countries which included Botswana, South Africa and Zambia.
President Mnangagwa said the exercise gave the students an opportunity to cross pollinate ideas and experiences with their fellow counterparts in the SADC region and beyond.
Secretary for Defence and War Veterans Affairs Ambassador Gray Marongwe, Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Philip Valerio Sibanda and service chiefs witnessed yesterday’s graduation ceremony where outstanding students were honoured.