Fatima Bulla in Beijing, China
ZIMBABWE stands to benefit immensely from cutting edge expertise to enhance national security at the inaugural China-Africa Defence and Security Forum underway here.
High-ranking security sector personnel led by Air Force of Zimbabwe Air-Vice Marshal Shebba Shumbayaonda, and including Defence Advisor at Zimbabwe’s Embassy in China, Brigadier-General Morgan Mzilikazi, are among delegates from 50 African countries and the African Union attending the forum.
The two-week event that ends on July 10 comes as Zimbabwe and its neighbours have raised security concerns following an assassination attempt on President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a rally in Bulawayo on June 23.
The terror attack has claimed two lives and left more than 45 people injured.
In an interview here yesterday, Brig-Gen Mzilikazi said the forum provided ways to enhance security for peace and development.
“The President has been going around calling for peace; that is, let us have a peaceful election. Therefore, someone or whichever group, to come up with this plan (to eliminate the President), I see it as moving the country backwards instead of moving the country forward,” he said.
“I think contextually, this forum is there to promote peace and development; and this is the concept of China. This is what China envisages seeing in Africa.
“Therefore, it is through this forum that we will develop concepts of peace and development including for our individual countries.”
Sponsored by China’s Ministry of National Defence, with its National Defence University organising the programme, the security and defence platform is inspired by Chinese President Xi Jin Ping’s Guiding Thoughts on Foreign Policy.
The forum is hinged on deepening China-Africa’s comprehensive strategic partnership and promoting a shared future under the broader framework of the Forum for China-Africa Co-operation.
China Military International Office in the Central Military Commission director-general Mr Hu Changming said the platform focused on strengthening security by paying attention to military equipment, professionalism and technology.
Under its 10-point Plan to build a comprehensive strategic and co-operative partnership with Africa, China provided a grant of US$60 million to the AU to support the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for the Immediate Response to Crises.
China has further committed to support Africa in areas of national defence, counter-terrorism, riot prevention, customs and immigration control.