THe Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) will remain apolitical, but is keen to see the nation united and not allow politics to divide them, a top official has said.
Zimbabwe National Army Commander, Lieutenant-General Edzai Chanyuka Chimonyo said this yesterday in an interview ahead of this year’s Heroes and Defence Forces Day commemorations.
He implored Zimbabweans to remain patient, saying the current economic challenges are temporary, normal and not unique to the country as those that are now developed went through the same in the past.
“People of Zimbabwe should know that we (ZDF) are pillars of Zimbabwe to ensure that there is peace,” said Lt Gen Chimonyo.
“One thing that I always ask myself is ‘when we went to the liberation struggle at that young age we were so united, why is it today we are not united as a country in an independent Zimbabwe?’ Yes, perhaps it can be politics here and there; we in our Constitution, we are apolitical, that is why in our Constitution multiparty (politics) in Zimbabwe is allowed; we observe what would be taking place.
“We can never move while divided, unity of purpose, that is what we want . . . we want politicians do their own work and ourselves doing our work.”
Turning to economic challenges, Lt Gen Chimonyo said many countries, including the United States, went through some turbulent times.
He added that before the First World War, Europe had problems too, while China has also navigated even worse problems to become one of the world’s economic giants.
“As I speak on behalf of the ZNA, I see light at the end of the tunnel. We are saying that there is nothing that can defeat us as long as we are united and together, these are difficulties we must overcome. But there are not difficulties that other countries have not gone through.
“As your ZDF, I stand here and beg you let us be united and stand together under these difficult circumstances; we will prevail,” he said.
He said unity would attract the much-needed investment for the country, adding that the ZNA’s role in the new dispensation is to defend the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“The role of the ZNA in the new dispensation is to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interest of Zimbabwe, at the same time contributing to international peace and stability. In the new dispensation the ZNA has a role to play which is to create a peaceful environment which is conducive to the investment as espoused by the mantra that is spoken about by His Excellency (President Mnangagwa) that ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’”.
“One of the most important things we should always keep in our minds is peace, so that investment comes our way as a nation. There is unemployment (and) we can only create that employment if there is investment and this happens when we are united just like those liberation guys, men and women, who went out to be together as Zimbabweans,” said Lt Gen Chimonyo.
He said the ZNA will continue undertaking training programmes for its troops in order to move in line with advancing technology, and to equip them with skills of countering threats that come with globalisation.
“There is no doubt that the enemy we fought yesterday is the same enemy we are fighting today and what is there is that it has only changed its tactics and we are faced with asymmetrical warfare, which is to do with media, cyber (wars) and these are elements that are very important aspects that men and women in the ZNA needs to understand and know what implications they have to the nation,” said Lt Gen Chimonyo.