Adhere to measures to fight Covid-19, army officers urged ZNA Commander Bulawayo District Colonel Ossie Olie Mhandu presents a certificate to best student Sergeant Tavengwa Vurayai during a graduation ceremony at Ordinance and Transport Training School at Lookout Masuku Barracks yesterday

Mthabisi Tshuma, Chronicle Correspondent
THE ZIMBABWE National Army (ZNA) has encouraged its officers to lead by example and embrace President Mnangagwa’s call for everyone to adhere to measures to fight Covid-19.

Wearing masks in public places is legally required in terms of public health regulations gazetted last Saturday under Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 and those who fail to wear them can be arrested.

Addressing 91 officers drawn from the ZNA and the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) who graduated yesterday at a joint graduation ceremony at Ordinance and Transport Training School (OTTS) at Lookout Masuku Barracks, ZNA Commander Bulawayo District Colonel Ossie Olie Mhandu said army officers should wear their masks at all times and adhere to other measures that can help in the fight against the disease.

She said it is the officers’ responsibility to ensure members of the public conform to wearing masks when they are in a public space.

“Take note that we are currently faced with the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic. In response to this pandemic, His Excellency President of Zimbabwe and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa declared a national lockdown to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

“Having said that you can protect yourself and others by sanitising your hands with soap, running water and alcohol based sanitisers at all times,” said Col Mhandu.

Col Mhandu said as soldiers are part of the frontline workers, there is a need for them to fully exercise personal hygiene and social distancing.

The soldiers since the start of the lockdown period have been visible where they are conducting patrols with police officers around the central business district (CBD), residential areas and at roadblocks.

“Furthermore, you are to observe social distancing and wear face masks whenever you move around and interact with fellow members while conducting your mandatory duties.

“These preventive measures must be adhered to religiously so as to have a healthy organisation and the nation at large,” said Col Mhandu.

Col Mhandu expressed gratitude to the OTTS staff for being able to run courses during the pandemic.

“I would like to thank the Commandant and her staff for successfully running these courses during these difficult times. I also want to thank the various civilian sectors and organisations who always come in handy to support us as we carry out our training,” said Col Mhandu.

She added that communities near army barracks should continue working hand in hand in ensuring the army is able to carry out its training programmes.

“Special mention goes to the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID), Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) and the local traditional leadership of specifically Chief Sigola in whose area we carry out our training activities.

“We would also like to thank his subjects for the support they are rendering to our subjects during field training exercises,” said Col Mhandu.

Bulawayo Commandant OTTS Lieutenant Colonel Esslyine Salome reiterated that members of the public should practise personal hygiene.

“Let’s regularly wash our hands and exercise social distancing and ensure that the members of the public also follow suit,” said Lt Col Salome.

Out of the 91 officers who graduated, there were nine females and Lt Col Salome commended them for breaking the barriers of a male dominated profession in line with the ZDF gender policy.

Graduates representative, ZNA member Sergeant Tavengwa Vurayai said the country should unite in the fight against Covid-19 as shown by their being able to finish classes and graduate amid the ongoing pandemic.

The officers completed three logistics courses; Basic Learner Drivers Course, Basic Stores Course and the Driving and Maintenance Instructors Course. — @mthabisi_mthire.

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