PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged to improve conditions of service for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), while urging them to remain steadfast in defending national peace and citizens’ aspirations.
Mnangagwa, who ascended to the helm last month with the help of the military after he dramatically elbowed out former President Robert Mugabe, said he was aware of the challenges faced by the military.
“I am aware of the challenges you are currently facing, and wish to assure you that my government will do everything in its power to improve the conditions of service for the defence forces,” he said.
Mnangagwa made the remarks at the Zimbabwe Staff College where he officiated at the graduation ceremony for 54 officers drawn from the army, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services and Central Intelligence Organisation.
Other graduands were drawn from South Africa, Nigeria, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi.
“As the economy improves, it also gives us the room to improve your conditions of service, particularly in the area of institutional accommodation where we can leverage on the abundant engineering skills amongst the ZDF members,” he said.
He also saluted the ZDF for maintaining peace and security in the country, saying this had over the years been enhanced through continuous training and widening of professional competencies.
Turning to the economy, Mnangagwa said there was no going back on the push for economic recovery, adding he would not tire in pushing for prosecution of all people who externalised money and assets.
“The trust of the new era will be dominated by robust and fast economic recovery programmes that will enable quick recovery of the country’s economy. My priorities for economic development will be to effect cost-cutting measures, stamping out corruption and plugging all resource leakages where they have occurred.
“This includes the compelling need to ensure that those who looted State resources return them or else the long arm of the State will catch up with them,” he said.
Earlier on, Mnangagwa had officiated at the renaming of KG6 Barracks in honour of the late Zanla Commander General Josiah Magama Tongogara, whom he described as the best military strategist the country had in its execution of the liberation war.
“We should never ever forget the role played by the rest of the late gallant sons and daughters in liberating the country and as such the renaming of these cantonments should not appear as if it’s erasing the exploits of other cadres who are too many to mention,” he said.
Mnangagwa also called on the ZDF to introduce Tongogara memorial lectures to unpack the great role the nationalist played in the liberation of the country.