By Freeman Razemba
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and the entire security sector should modernise and mechanise to detect and avert threats that may hinder the accelerated efforts of the new dispensation under President Mnangagwa to achieve an upper middle-income economy by 2030, a Cabinet minister has said.
Defence and War Veterans’ Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the security forces should be alive to the changing defence and security landscape which continuously transforms due to political, social and economic dynamics.
She was addressing a graduation ceremony of 75 members of the ZDF, other security agents and eight foreign officers from the region at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare yesterday.
The foreign officers from Lesotho, eSwatini, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia graduated with a Diploma in Defence and Security Studies.
“Changes in military technology and war fighting philosophy calls for a responsive curriculum which takes into account all current developments that pose potential threats to our national sovereignty and well-being,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
“However, studying the fundamental aspects of military science and Zimbabwe’s socio-economic issues broadens one’s understanding of critical dynamics of geopolitical and contemporary challenges in various parts of the world.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said she was delighted to note that the training curriculum of the college in association with universities such as the University of Zimbabwe had to a greater extend embraced critical thinking, research and development, technological advancement and innovation.
“This is extremely important because our country’s Defence Forces and Security sector need to highly modernise and mechanise in order to detect and avert any threats associated with the accelerated pace at which the new dispensation and Second Republic is forging ahead with the transformation of attaining an upper middle-income society by 2030,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said her ministry’s investment in these professional training and career development programmes over the years had seen the ZDF attaining high levels of proficiency, discipline, loyalty and dedication.
She said as a result of such training, the ZDF outfit had become the envy of many.
“The high level of professionalism has enabled the ZDF to effectively perform its constitutional role of maintaining peace and stability locally, regionally and internationally,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
“Such remarkable achievements by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces were registered in Mozambique, DRC campaigns, peacekeeping operations in Somalia, Angola, South Sudan, Darfur, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Nepal, Syria and Liberia, just to mention a few.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri expressed concern over the number of women enrolled for the Diploma in Defence and Security Studies programme.
She said the numbers were disappointing considering the clarion call for women to participate in most of the country’s developmental sectors.
She appealed to women to take advantage of the Constitution which calls for 50-50 equality principle between men and women.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri urged all the officers who graduated to take advantage of the platform provided by the college to pursue further related studies such as the recently introduced Bachelor of Arts Degree in Defence and Security Studies.
The ceremony was attended by the ministry’s acting secretary Dr Peter Muchakazi, UZ Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo, Commander Defence Forces General Philip Valerio Sibanda, Commander ZNA Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo and senior officers from the ZRP, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, Air Force of Zimbabwe, President’s Department and Government officials.