Zimbabweans sleep soundly, thanks to the peace and tranquility the country is enjoying. Our defence forces have been able to protect us from external and internal aggression. These men and women have ensured that peace prevails by safeguarding our territorial integrity. All roads in Harare today lead to the National Sports Stadium where the main event to commemorate the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ Day will be held.
There will be provincial commemorations throughout the country where Provincial Governors are expected to lead the commemorations and read the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde Mugabe’s speech. Yesterday the country paid tribute to its gallant sons and daughters that participated in the liberation struggle during the Heroes’ Day commemorations. The main event was at the National Heroes’ Acres where the remains of our heroes and heroines are interred.
Those buried at the national shrine include, among others, Cdes Herbert Chitepo, Josiah Magama Tongogara, Josiah Chinamano, late Vice- President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, late Vice-President Simon Muzenda, late Vice-President Joseph Msika, late Vice-President Landa John Nkomo, late first lady Cde Sally Mugabe, Mama Mafuyana, Cde Julia Zvobgo and many others who sacrificed their lives to liberate this country.
Today as we pay tribute to members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, we should not forget that apart from protecting our territorial integrity, many of these officers and men participated in the liberation struggle. These are the men and women whose gallant colleagues died to liberate this country and the remains of some of them are buried in unmarked graves in different parts of the country as well as in neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Mozambique.
Many of the men and women we are honouring today took up arms to fight the injustices of the settler regime and to them Zimbabwe always came first. These are men and women who have remained loyal to the ideals of Zimbabwe during the liberation struggle and after independence hence the nation entrusted them with the onerous task of safeguarding its territorial integrity.
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces like other government institutions have been adversely affected by the sanctions-induced economic challenges. They have on many times been forced to improvise in order for them to continue meeting their mandate of providing the required national security. The ZDF commanders have repeatedly bemoaned the shortage of resources especially for training of officers and men.
What is comforting is that the ZDF has managed to produce highly trained officers at its different training institutions which means those given the task of training have been innovative enough thereby avoiding compromising the quality of training. It is our fervent hope that as the nation celebrates sleeping soundly, it reflects on the challenges facing the ZDF with a view to finding solutions.
There are many challenges facing the ZDF as already alluded to but we are of the view that the shortage of accommodation, transport and general equipment needs urgent attention. The army is as good as its equipment so if we want to continue enjoying this peace and tranquility, our army should be well resourced in terms of transport and equipment.
The members of the ZDF, we have already stated, have sacrificed over the years due to shortage of resources and it’s time Government allocates them more resources. The officers and men need decent accommodation, adequate transport and other resources to enable them to carry out their mandate without hindrance. We want at this juncture to salute the officers and men who have remained loyal to the ideals of Zimbabwe despite the many challenges caused by shortage of resources.
Zimbabweans should today draw lessons from the dedication and commitment of these officers and men, some of whom sacrificed their lives to liberate us from the shackles of colonialism but are still working for their country.
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