Defence forces embark on massive educational, training programmes

Source: Defence forces embark on massive educational, training programmes | Herald (Opinion)

Columbus Mabika–Herald Reporter

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) is expanding its training programmes to
enhance the intellectual capacity of its personnel to meet the objective
of attaining an upper middle income economy by 2030.

ZDF Commander General Philip Sibanda has said they were fully embracing
technology to meet the demands of the 21st century and effectively deal
with emerging threats associated with the digital age.

The development comes as the Second Republic has urged citizens and
institutions to embrace technology saying it plays an important role in
the development of the nation and forms the backbone of industry in the
digital era.

Gen Sibanda fielded questions from the media yesterday ahead of this
year’s commemoration of the Defence Forces Day next week.

He emphasised the need for a well trained and equipped force capable of
containing the challenges the country faces.

“Key programmes in the fifth decade (into independence) are being carried
within the context of Vision 2030. My vision for the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces is to have a well-trained, disciplined professional land and air
force capable of carrying out the constitutional mandate to contain
traditional and non-traditional security threats,” said Gen Sibanda.

“In order to achieve this capability, ZDF should be well trained and
equipped with modern equipment, highly mobile and motivated.

“Training remains central towards generating the desired Zimbabwe Defence
Forces capability.”

Gen Sibanda said going forward, there would be a major transformation in
the training of officers, with a new syllabus encompassing a science
degree set to be introduced for young officer cadets.

General Sibanda said research and development programmes remained central
in keeping pace with developments in developed countries, adding that ZDF
had signed cooperation agreements with various institutions.

“ZDF will intensify and expand its research and development projects for
the improvement of the organisation’s capabilities.

“In a bid to enhance ZDF capability in the identification and development
of equipment and materials that are compatible with emerging technologies,
it entered into joint research and development cooperation agreements with
various institutions.”

Among the institutions with which ZDF had signed agreements were the
Scientific and Industrial Research Development Centre (SIRDC), the Harare
Institute of Technology and the University of Zimbabwe.

Through research and development, ZDF had been successful in the
production of some aircraft components, field kitchens and the production
of machine and vehicle components.

On the response to natural disasters, Gen Sibanda said the frequency of
severe disasters had risen in recent years with the country experiencing
cyclone-induced floods.

ZDF had directed more attention towards preparedness and response to
natural disasters.

“During this decade, the ZDF was called upon to assist in mitigating the
effects of Cyclone Dineo in 2017 and Cyclone Idai in 2019.

“Lessons learnt from these most recent disasters and those before indicate
that the ZDF should play a major role particularly at the initial stages
of the response efforts,” he said.

On participation in peace support operations, Gen Sibanda said ZDF
continued to deploy its members under the auspices of United Nations and
African Union as part of the country’s contribution to international peace
and security.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic was a security threat so all men and women
in uniform who were supposed to be vaccinated.

“The Zimbabwe Defence Forces has not been spared from the Covid-19
pandemic raging across the globe which has become a security threat to
peace and security because of the far reaching socio-economic
consequences.

“With no known preventive or curative drugs in place, we should embrace
vaccination as part of efforts to combat this lethal disease,” he said

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