Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said sacrifices are necessary as Government implements broad economic reforms as there are no short cuts to reviving the economy.
The President, who is also the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) said safety nets will be put in place to cushion vulnerable members of society during the implementation of the reforms.
He said this during the commissioning of 149 junior officers at the Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) in Gweru. President Mnangagwa also commissioned a new state-of-the-art cadet accommodation and canteen facilities at the academy. The graduation and pass-out parade of Regular Officer Cadet Course 3-35-17 is the 35th to be held at ZMA since Independence.
President Mnangagwa said his Government recognises the unflinching resilience of the defence forces who have remained loyal, focused and dedicated as Government seeks to find lasting solutions to the current challenges facing the security forces.
He said challenges to be addressed include the issue of the housing backlog.
The President said the journey towards the attainment of Vision 2030 requires citizens to have common ideals, convictions and unity of purpose.
He said Government is geared towards putting Zimbabwe back on the rails of development.
“As I have said the road will not be easy and requires sacrifices by all of us. Let us collectively determine to build a modern, industrialised, stronger and more prosperous Zimbabwe for both present and future generations. We cannot and should not take short cuts for political expediency. Our economics and politics must be that which puts national interest above individual or group interest. My Government will thus continue to put in place an environment that ensures the long term benefits for all citizens of our great country,” said the President.
“As we implement the broad economic reform policies, we will also put in place the appropriate safety nets to cushion the most vulnerable members of society. I therefore urge you, all of us to remain resolute and play our part in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and our quest to attain Vision 2030.”
Violence, President Mnangagwa said, is not part of the country’s culture and its proponents must be condemned and rejected.
“The culture of dialogue should be preserved and entrenched. Each one of us must value and maintain the peace that we are enjoying as it is the springboard that will help us attain upper middle-income economy by 2030. The Commissioning Parade is taking place as we come to the end of our National Culture week, which I launched last Saturday. As I said then, let us always uphold our cultural values and ensure that our unique tangible and intangible cultural heritage is not only embraced but respected, safeguarded and celebrated for posterity.”
He commended the ZDF for continuing to strive for gender equality in line with the national gender policy which calls for equal opportunities for both men and women.
“Allow me to specifically applaud the 35 female officer cadets graduating today. I encourage them to always draw strength and inspiration, throughout their professional journey, from the resolve and determination that saw them complete this demanding course. Under the Second Republic, my Government will continue to ensure that women reach their full potential, with no glass ceilings. With hard work, zeal and perseverance anything is achievable, regardless of one’s gender,” he said.
President Mnangagwa described the graduation ceremony as an ample demonstration of the ZMA’s firm commitment to fulfil its mandate of identifying and moulding young Zimbabwean men and women into competent and professional officers.
He said since independence, the ZMA had successfully run 35 Regular Officer Cadet courses. “This graduation ceremony signifies yet another milestone in the history of the Zimbabwe Military Academy. We commend the Academy for their role in identifying and moulding young men and women into competent and professional junior officers of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. It is your unwavering commitment to the mandate of this prestigious institution that sees us witnessing this 35th Commissioning Parade of the Regular Officer Cadet Course, since independence,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the fact that 149 of an initial enrolment of 215 graduated attests to the gruesome demands of the course.
“You, who completed, stayed the course and ran the race up to the finish line. You withstood the rigorous requirements of the course and today you are the proud graduands parading before us. Well done to you. On a sad note, I am informed that three officer cadets passed on during the period of the course. May their souls rest in eternal peace,” said President Mnangagwa.
He encouraged officer cadets to always have an open mindset and a flexible view of the broader world saying.
“But never forget your heritage. At both a personal and professional level, always act in the best interest of our motherland,” he added.
Those who graduated, President Mnangagwa said, had completed 21 months of intensive military training.
President Mnangagwa said they followed a curriculum that covered Basic Soldiering Skills, Conventional Warfare, Low Intensity Operations and Civil Military Relations.
As part of Civil Military Relations package of the course, President Mnangagwa said the graduating soldiers also visited liberation war shrines at Chimoio in Mozambique and Freedom Camp in Zambia.
“I would like to thank the Governments and the people of Mozambique and Zambia for the hospitality they continue to extend to the Zimbabwe Military Academy during these study tours. I am confident that this broad syllabus has adequately equipped the cadets with the requisite tactical, regimental and administrative skills and knowledge of our liberation war heritage, values and ethos. It is when we are an ideologically rooted people, alive to our foundational past that our country can chart a prosperous course for the future,” he said.
“I urge you to continuously draw from the rich history and the firm convictions that saw our compatriots wage a protracted war for our land, independence, social justice and the right to self-determination.”