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Mnangagwa commissions 149 officer cadets

by Staff reporter
25 May 2018 at 07:05hrs | Views
President Mnangagwa hands over a graduation certificate to Officer Cadet Mike Bwalala from Namibia during a commissioning parade at the Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru yesterday. Looking on is Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda (centre), Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo (right) and Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Elson Moyo. - Picture by Innocent Makawa
President Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned 149 officer cadets, among them five Namibians, at the 34th Regular Officer Cadet Course graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) in Gweru.

Of these, 33 were females.

Addressing graduates and Zimbabwe Defence Forces generals and senior officers, the Commander-in-Chief, President Mnangagwa, said the graduation ceremony marked another milestone in the history of ZMA which he said had remained committed to fulfilling its mandate and mission of identifying and moulding young men and women of the country as well as those from Sadc countries into competent and professional junior officers within their respective forces.

"I am gratified that this is the 34th Commissioning Parade of the Regular Officer Cadet Course to take place at the academy since the attainment of our independence in 1980 and it is my first as Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces," he said.

President Mnangagwa said the course commenced training in September 2016 with initial enrolment of 158 officer cadets of whom 36 were female, eight already serving members of the ZNA and five from Namibian Defence Forces.

"The continued presence of students from the Republic of Namibia is a testimony of the cordial relations that continue to exist between our two defence forces. The benefits of such kind of cooperation in the maintenance of peace and security cannot be overemphasised. I am reliably informed that of the initial 158 officer cadets, nine dropped out of the course or left due to various reasons such as exhaustive demands of the training, medical unfitness, voluntary resignation, indiscipline or incompetence," he said.

President Mnangagwa applauded 33 female officer cadets who were among the graduates saying they were the second highest number to graduate in the history of cadet training at the academy following the commissioning of 35 female officers who graduated in 2014.

"It is indeed regrettable that the number of female cadets remains low and I urge us all to continue in the quest for greater participation of women in the defence forces," he said.

He said the course had 21 months of intensive military training divided into basic soldiering skills, conventional warfare and low intensity operations, adding that subjects covered included skill at arms, fieldcraft, map reading and civil-military relations.

President Mnangagwa said the course was the eighth graduation with a diploma in Military Training and Education in association with the Midlands State Univer- sity.

"To this end, I commend the university for granting the academy, associateship status. I urge both parties to accelerate the plans to have future courses graduating with degrees so that the academy churns out officers with degrees," he said.

President Mnangagwa commended the course instructors for facilitating the visit to the Chimoio Shrine in Mozambique and Freedom Camp Shrine in Zambia as part of the civil military relations package.

He said he hoped that the visit allowed the officer cadets to visualise the agonising and enduring events that characterised the struggle for Zimbabwe's hard-won independence and enabled them to understand the need to jealously and continuously safeguard our sovereignty.

"In the same vein, the renaming of military cantonment areas after our country's heroes such as Rodgers Alfred Nikita Mangena Barracks, which houses the Zimbabwe National Defence University; Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks, previously KGVI Barracks; and the Herbert Chitepo Barracks, formerly Headquarters 3 Infantry Brigade; as well as the upcoming renaming of Flyde Air Force Base after the late Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo; should serve as a constant inspiration and beckon to our defence forces to emulate the character traits and attributes of these late veterans of impeccable standing and prowess," said the President.

"I have no doubt therefore that the graduates before us today now appreciate the challenges and sacrifices made by those who fought for our liberation, some indeed, who paid the supreme sacrifice with their lives. All of us here today and certainly all Zimbabweans should remain cognisant that the liberation struggle is a permanent feature of our history and one that will continue to mould our country's future."

President Mnangagwa said he was confident that the course fully equipped graduates with skills that they will constantly rely on in their chosen military careers.

"As officers of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, you are the custodians of the defence and security of this precious country as enshrined in our constitution. You need to guard and protect it jealously against any detractors, be they local or foreign," he said.

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Source - the herald