Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Diplomats yesterday saluted and congratulated the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for ensuring peace and stability in the country and also participating in peace keeping missions in the region. They applauded the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for ensuring a peaceful transition from the old regime into the new political dispensation last November and said they wished Zimbabwe could continue on the peaceful path.
In an interview at the 38th ZDF anniversary celebrations held at the National Sports Stadium yesterday, DRC Ambassador to Zimbabwe and Dean of the Diplomatic Corp Mwawapanga Mwanananga said this year’ ZDF celebrations came at a time the ZDF superintended over a peaceful transition into the new dispensation, which is a lesson to the world.
“There was no bloodshed and the transition was peaceful,” he said.
“Crowds were cheering the forces and there was order. Even the elections were conducted in a peaceful way although there were some unfortunate incidents where people ended up destroying property and this led to the death of people.
“I don’t see why people would come and start burning cars in the Central Business District and destroy shops when there is need to rebuild the economy.”
Ambassador Mwanananga said there was need to investigate the cause of the violent incident and identify the people who instigated the youths to go into the streets and destroy property.
“The problem is that we do not hear much about those who sent people to go and destroy stores that can create jobs for them,” he said.
“It is time for this country to come together and start rebuilding. The forces are the pillar of this country.”
United Nations resident coordinator in Zimbabwe Mr Bishow Parajuli applauded the defence forces’ contribution to international peace.
“There are lots of Zimbabwean defence and police peace personnel serving in the international peace forces in a number of countries and some of them have excelled in a marvellous way,” he said.
“I commend that. Peace and development go hand in hand, I congratulate the ZDF.”
Angolan Ambassador to Zimbabwe Pedro Hendrik Vaal Neto saluted the ZDF for the role they have been playing, not only in Zimbabwe, but also in the region.
“I wish that they better their duties in favour of the region and Africa as a whole,” he said.
“I congratulate the ZDF for they have been playing a major role in SADC. They still have a role to play in SADC.”
Indonesia Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Stephanus Yuwono, congratulated ZDF, Zimbabwe and President Mnangagwa.
“We congratulate the ZDF and the President of Zimbabwe on this important day,” he said.
Palestinian Embassy first secretary Mr Mana Alagha said Palestinians were joining Zimbabweans in celebrating the contributions made by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to peace and development.
“We congratulate Zimbabweans on electing a new President,” he said.
“We hope Zimbabwe continues to develop and continue to assist other countries. I hope everything goes well for Zimbabwe.”
Malaysia Charge d’Affaires to Zimbabwe and Comoros saluted the defence forces for their sterling work in ensuring the development of the country and people.
“It’s time to translate this show of unity into efforts for the betterment of the country and for the people,” he said.
“Most of the defence forces have sacrificed their lives to defend the country and ensure peace.”
Apart from peacekeeping activities, the ZDF have also assisted many communities countrywide through developmental projects.
On the international scene, the ZDF continue to deploy to regional and international peace support operations under the auspices of the SADC, African Union and United Nations.
At the regional level, members of the ZDF are participating in regional training exercises and other military exchange programmes, as part of their commitment to the operationalisation of the SADC Standby Force.