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ZDF key to modernisation, industrialisation — President

PROFESSIONALISM and excellency through high-quality personnel training and development programmes in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) should be harnessed not only to safeguard the country’s sovereignty but also in the industrialisation and modernisation of the nation, President Mnangagwa said.

This can be achieved if the ZDF adapts and adopts changing trends in the peace and security field and also take a lead in creating Zimbabwe military products, hardware and software as is the practice in other countries.

Speaking at the 34th graduation ceremony of the Joint Command and Staff Course at the Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks yesterday, the President, who is also the Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said the graduates should put into practice what they were taught during their 46-week course, shun corruption, and embrace the ongoing technological revolution.

“The importance of science, technology and innovation as key enablers to propel the defence and sustainable economic development nexus, cannot be overemphasised.

“Riding on the Heritage Based Education 5.0 Policy, I exhort the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs to prioritise the establishment of innovation hubs and industrial parks within its learning and training institutions. This is more urgent given the role the military must play as a strategic entity in the modernisation and industrialisation of our great country.

“Furthermore, in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and what this will entail to modern day warfare, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces must develop capabilities for creating inventions and ‘proudly Zimbabwean’ military products, hardware and software.

“I challenge you to be active participants in the ongoing ‘innovation revolution” being championed by my administration’.”

Zimbabwe has adopted a Heritage Based Education 5.0 policy which places emphasis on heritage philosophy in shaping future technology through innovation and industrialisation.

This is in light of the country’s march towards Vision 2030, to be an upper-middle-class economy where industrialisation and modernisation are vital cogs as defined in the National Development Strategy 1, where every sector has a role to play in the economic development of the country.

Defence and War Veterans Affairs Acting Minister Kazembe Kazembe, and service chiefs attended yesterday’s graduation where outstanding students were also honoured.

“As Commander-In-Chief, I recognise the indelible mark of professionalism which the Defence Forces is renowned for on the international scene. I congratulate you for the continued excellent and deserved recognition as reliable and principled guarantors of stability, peace and security of our jurisdiction and beyond.

“You have done exceptionally well at regional and international levels. This legacy should be jealously protected and continue to be enriched.

“These achievements are indeed attributed to the high levels of professionalism, discipline and diligence that characterise the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. This is courtesy of the high quality personnel training and development programmes within our various institutions,” the President said.

Given emerging threats, again, technology plays a crucial role especially on issues related to cyber security.

“Our capacity to deal with cyberspace-based threats lies in developing a keen interest in technological developments, which have become a key determinant in the success of dealing with security challenges. The transformation of the battlefield to cyberspace has provided a platform for the rise and spread of terrorism, politically motivated violent extremism as well as the spread of hate speech and disinformation.

“Thus, special attention needs to be made in ensuring speedy assimilation of knowledge and skills which will allow the officers of our Defence Forces, to robustly and proactively counter these contemporary threats,” said the President.

Unlike in previous graduations, this year’s ceremony did not have foreign students because of the Covid-19 pandemic which has restricted travel since last year, but notwithstanding the dark shadow cast by the global plague, President Mnangagwa said the ZDF has remained resolute in executing its mandate including running its education courses.

“Our Defence Forces have remained resolute in executing their mandate of defending the country’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and also carrying out planned training programmes.

“I applaud you for the critical and progressive thinking as well as the adoption of a wide array of initiatives that have seen all training institutions of the Defence Forces running their programmes as scheduled. Through continuous trainings among other important variables, the nation is guaranteed of a defence capability that is always ready to deal with any security threats,” said the President.

The President added that in light of the intricate and growing complexities of international conflict and peace operations, there is a need to re-examine the training curriculum to produce officers who are versatile to tackle new threats through thinking globally but executing locally.

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