CALLS for security sector reforms are a ploy by the West to dilute the efficiency of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces which must be resisted by all Zimbabweans, President Mugabe has said.In his address on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day attended by thousands at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday, the Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces applauded the ZDF for their resolute defence of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He said it was surprising that some misguided elements within and outside the country were clamouring for security sector reforms.
“It is therefore surprising that some misguided fellow countrymen, at the behest of their Western allies, blatantly disregard the good work done by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in maintaining peace and tranquility in the country.
They disguise this by demanding what they call “Security Sector Reform”, when it is obvious the enemy’s real ploy is to dilute the efficiency of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” President Mugabe said.
He urged Zimbabweans to repel such efforts.
“These celebrations are thus an appeal to all peace-loving Zimbabweans to resist the enemy’s strategy. It is imperative for us always to work hand-in-glove with our defence forces, more so given the renewed neo-colonial advances by our erstwhile colonisers,” President Mugabe said.
He saluted the ZDF for its unquestionable and resolute dedication to the country as evidenced by the peace and tranquility Zimbabweans have enjoyed since independence.
“It is a great honour for me to join the pomp and fanfare that are today’s part of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ 33rd anniversary celebrations. Indeed, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have every reason to celebrate in style considering the fact that Zimbabwe has been one of the most peaceful nations in the region and on the African continent since our attainment of independence in 1980.
Such peace was not just natural, but a product of the professional ability of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to undertake their constitutional mandate of safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity over its land and airspace,” President Mugabe said.
This year’s celebrations were held under the theme “Zimbabwe Defence Forces in Defence of National Sovereignty, Social and Economic Development”.
President Mugabe said the theme was more relevant now that the country was on a crucial path of consolidating the gains of a hard won independence through the total economic emancipation of its people via indigenisation and economic empowerment.
“In spite of the demonisation that we have endured over the past 13 years under the West’s regime change agenda in conjunction with their local allies, they have failed to frustrate our noble efforts and determination to consolidate our economic independence through the total control of our natural resources.
The indigenisation and empowerment drive will continue unabated in order to ensure that indigenous Zimbabweans enjoy a larger share of the country’s resources,” he said.
President Mugabe, emerging from a resounding victory in the just-ended harmonised elections, said his Government would do everything in its power to ensure the total economic emancipation of indigenous people.
He noted that the indigenisation programme was not peculiar to Zimbabwe as it had been successfully implemented in other countries.
“Surprisingly though, it has not drawn the hype and demonisation that it has done in this country. Our position as the Zimbabwean Government is to pursue this beneficial policy to its successful conclusion.
“I am happy to note that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have remained vigilant and resolute in defence of the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests that include our natural resources,” President Mugabe said.
He added: “This is our final phase of implementing the ideals of the liberation struggle, which started with the attainment of political independence in 1980, which was followed by the indigenisation of the land that was largely owned by the minority settler white community for nearly a century.
“May I therefore extend to all Zimbabweans, my hearty congratulations for voting peacefully and showing our foreign detractors that our destiny lies in our hands.
“May I also thank you most sincerely for bringing to an end the unproductive Inclusive Government and for restoring your confidence in the Zanu-PF Government.”
President Mugabe pledged to address the conditions of service for the ZDF whose salaries are still below the Poverty Datum Line. He also pledged to address accommodation and other challenges facing the force.
The First Family, senior Government officials, outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and Chief of the Namibian Defence Forces Lieutenant General Epaphras Ndaitwah, were among the thousands that thronged the National Sports Stadium for the annual celebrations.