China boosts Zimbabwe’s military, donates state-of-the-art defence equipment worth US$28 million


Zimbabwe, a regional giant in peace-keeping efforts and stability, yesterday received a shot in the arm from its all-weather friend China in the form of military support that will go a long way towards the modernisation of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF).

Over the years, Zimbabwe, which maintains a “friend to all and enemy to none” foreign policy thrust, has been a major player in peace-keeping efforts on the African continent, playing a sterling role in countries like Somalia, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.

Presently, the country is part of the joint Sadc Mission in Mozambique that is securing peace in the wake of terrorism in the Cabo Delgado region.

With the threat of terrorism rising in the region, Zimbabwe yesterday took delivery of military equipment that is expected to go a long way in reinforcing its defence capabilities especially against emerging global threats of terrorism.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of the military equipment at Inkomo Barracks, President Mnangagwa said the innumerable support and investment rendered by China towards Zimbabwe’s development is a reflection of strengthening relations between the two countries.

“This gift of an assortment of strategic military equipment is testimony of the strong fraternal relations between Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China, under our present framework of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“It is indeed pleasing that the enduring relations between our two countries continue to grow, including in the strategic area of military co-operation.

“This dates back to Zimbabwe’s protracted war of liberation and has deepened under the Second Republic, as evidenced by the innumerable support and investment our country is receiving from China. This spans across all sectors of the economy,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said even after the attainment of Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980 China has remained a resolute friend of the country.

“May I once again recognise China as a consistent friend of Zimbabwe. Over the last 23 years, the socio-economic growth, development and prosperity of our country has been weighed down by the albatross of the Western imposed illegal sanctions. Throughout this period, China has been a true and reliable ally. We are forever thankful.

“In supporting us in Zimbabwe, along with many other nations in Africa and the world at large, the People’s Republic of China is applauded for accelerating people-centred development for a shared future for mankind. Particularly, we note and stand ready to play our part under the Global Development Initiative as well as the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.

President Mnangagwa, who is the Commander and Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said Zimbabwe is grateful for the unflinching friendship between its military and the People’s Liberation Army.

Such donations, he added, would go a long way in modernising Zimbabwe’s military, as well as ensuring the ZDF remains an indomitable and efficient force.

“Today, this delivery of Military Gratis Equipment valued at 200 million RMB (US$28 million) will go a long way towards consolidating our ongoing quest to modernise the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

“The additional dispatch of a training team of experts to train military personnel is most welcome and complements my Government’s multi-pronged programme to capacitate our military to be more responsive to both traditional and contemporary security threats.

“Furthermore, the equipment and training programmes being conducted by members of the People’s Liberation Army will assist in ensuring that the ZDF remains an efficient and capable Force, able to play its part as enshrined in our Constitution and in line with regional, continental and global expectations,” he said.

Zimbabwe, said President Mnangagwa, is ready to consolidate partnerships with countries such as China on the basis of mutuality.

“Under the Second Republic, ‘Zimbabwe is a friend to all and enemy of none’. We, thus, stand ready to scale up partnerships with China and other progressive countries in the comity of nations, on the basis of mutual benefits and co-operation, towards shared prosperity and global peace,” he said.

President Mnangagwa added that partnership between the ZDF and People’s Liberation Army have continued on an upward trajectory as evidenced by prior donations.

“With regards to our partnership between our Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the People’s Liberation Army, I recall that in 2020, the ZDF received a donation of gratis medical equipment from China, for the VVIP and Military Referral Hospital under construction at the Manyame Air Force Base.

“Subsequently, the People’s Liberation Army, dispatched a technical team, led by Group Captain Geng Jie, to appreciate the structure and progress made to date. We are grateful for such a show of unwavering friendship,” he said.

The Head of State said Zimbabwe stands ready to support initiatives that foster global peace and denounce “undue interference” in sovereign countries’ affairs.

“Our country will continue to support all efforts to strengthen multi-lateralism and dialogue in global peace initiatives. We strongly oppose all forms of double standards, hegemonic tendencies and the undue interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states,” he said.

President Mnangagwa went on to express gratitude to his “dear brother” Chinese President Xi Jinping for the thoughtful military aide.

“Let me conclude by thanking you, Ambassador Zhou Ding and the Chinese Embassy Staff for promoting closer cooperation and investments between our two sister Republics and ensuring that the various projects we are undertaking, come to fruition. Finally, Your Excellency, Ambassador, Zhou Ding, may you kindly convey warm greetings and our sincere gratitude to His Excellency, President Xi Jinping, and through him, to the people and Government of the People’s Republic of China, as well as the People’s Liberation Army, for this generous gift,” he said.

China’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Zhou Ding described Zimbabwe as “a great friend” hence the donation of the state of the art equipment.

Amb Ding said the two countries’ militaries would continue to strengthen their cooperation.

Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Phillip Valerio Sibanda said it was important that the ZDF is modernised and well equipped.

General Sibanda also expressed gratitude to the People’s Liberation Army saying the equipment rendered would go a long way in making the military agile.

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