Battling with stabilising the economy, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has incessantly thanked members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for not kicking him out of power by remaining loyal to his battling government.
Speaking during the commissioning parade for 149 officer cadets at the 35th Commissioners’ Cadet Ceremony at the Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) in Gweru yesterday, the President commended the ZDF for remaining vigilant and loyal as Government tries to work towards finding solutions to the current economic challenges.
“I further, recognize the unflinching resilience of the Defence Forces in general, who have remained loyal, focused and dedicated as my Government seeks to find lasting solutions to the currents challenges facing the forces.
Mnangagwa promised to pay back the soldiers’ loyalty and that of other civil servants by providing them with houses.
“I assure you all that my government remains seized with the need to address the housing backlog among other issues affecting our public service, including the uniformed forces.”
Mnangagwa himself took over power from former President Robert Mugabe through a military coup in November 2017. Rumours have been spreading throughout the last year that the army is getting impatient with Mnangagwa who is battling to revive the country’s economy since taking over from Mugabe.
Some sectors have indicated that, Mnangagwa has been given up to the end of next year to revive the economy or be kicked out by the army which put him in power in the first place.
Of the 149 officers graduated with a Diploma in Military Training and Education in association with Midlands State University, 35 were female.
Overall best cadet Nobesuthu Moyo, a female, got a sword of honour and US$500 from the President. Second best cadet Itai Katsega got US$300, and third placed Lloyd Mbonisi US$200.
President Mnangagwa said his government offers many opportunities for women.
“I encourage them (female cadet officers) to always draw strength and inspiration, throughout their professional journey, from the resolve and determination that saw them completes 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.
“I commend the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for continuing to strive for gender equity in line with our country’s gender policy which calls for equal opportunities,” he said.
President Mnangagwa praised the marriage between the military and MSU for churning out officers who are able to deal with contemporary threats.
“Academic partnerships of this nature must always ensure that the graduates of this academy are equipped to deal with a broad spectrum of contemporary threats and opportunities within the security architecture.
“Hence, bold, astute, innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets must equally be inculcated within the military domain.
“Wide ranging capabilities and talents of our cadets must therefore be constantly explored as we quest to build a stronger and modern defence forces.
“I commend the academy for its resource fullness and persistence in the fulfilment of the institutions mandate and set objectives, in spite of various constraints,” he said.
At least 215 officer cadets were enrolled at ZMA in September 2017 and of those, 149 were commissioned yesterday after 63 dropped for various reasons while three died during the period of the course.
After the parade ceremony, the President also commissioned the new state-of-the-art cadet accommodation and messing facilities.
Present at the graduation ceremony were Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Larry Mavima, Minister of State for National Security Owen Ncube, ZDF commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda, Deputy Chief Secretary in the office of the President George Charamba, war veterans chairman Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, and senior Government officials.