ZNA committed to soldiers’ welfare ZNA Commander Lt. General Anselem Sanyatwe (centre) and outgoing Bulawayo District commander Colonel Ossie Oli Mhandu look on as incoming district commander Colonel Collen Ncube signs the hand-over takeover certificate at a parade yesterday. Picture: Eliah Saushoma

Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, [email protected]

ZIMBABWE National Army (ZNA) Commander, Lieutenant-General Anselem Sanyatwe, yesterday declared that improving the welfare of soldiers is a top priority, despite economic difficulties caused by the sanctions imposed on the country by the West. 

Speaking at a military parade to mark changing of the command of the ZNA Bulawayo District at Lookout Masuku Barracks, which saw Colonel Collen Ncube taking over from Colonel Osslie Ollie Mhandu as the new district commander, Lt-Gen Sanyatwe said the welfare of ZNA members is crucial for peace and stability, which translates to the country’s economic development.

“As Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, I am aware of the challenges we face as a nation in general and as the defence forces in particular. This is a passing phase and we should remain focused as a professional army,” he said.

“I am seized with these challenges and let me highlight to you that all issues that are raised by various formations through my office are being actioned. As you can attest, the ration situation remains satisfactory, and we endeavour to improve most of your conditions of service.” 

Incoming Bulawayo District commander Colonel Collen Ncube (right) is congratulated by outgoing commander Colonel Ossie Mhandu, the first woman in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to lead a military formation. Picture: Eliah Saushoma

Lt-Gen Sanyatwe said the accommodation situation at the ZNA Bulawayo District will also improve as the newly completed houses will be occupied soon. 

He noted that there were issues of encroachment into the ZNA Bulawayo District cantonment and training areas by locals from the surrounding community in Umguza district, including illegal mining activities.

He told Col Ncube to be firm in dealing with illegal mining and community encroachment issues.

“The situation has been contained and I want you to maintain the status quo. Illegal mining activities are also a teething challenge and I encourage you to remain firm to ensure that no further encroachments take place,” he said. 

Lt-Gen Sanyatwe commended both Col Ncube and outgoing commander Col Mhandu for their unquestionable loyalty and dedication to duty, which was beyond reproach.

“Today, we gather here to witness the handover of command of Bulawayo District from Colonel Osslie Ollie Mhandu to Colonel Collen Ncube. The two commanders whose handover of command we are witnessing today are high-calibre senior officers of unquestionable loyalty whose dedication to duty is beyond reproach,” he said.

“One of them is a founding member of the Zimbabwe National Army and served with the Zpra forces during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle until her attestation into the Zimbabwe National Army at its inception in 1980.” 

Lt-Gen Sanyatwe said since then, Col Mhandu has served in various capacities in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces  and has been outstanding in executing her duties as assigned to her during her long service in the ZNA. 

“Her outstanding performance saw her being among the first female officers to command a Formation, a feat only attained by high calibre officers.” 

He said Col Mhandu’s professional discharge of duty, commitment and resoluteness in support of various training activities within the formation was worth emulating.

ZNA Commander Lt. General Anselem Sanyatwe congratulates new Bulawayo District commander Colonel Collen Ncube. Picture: Eliah Saushoma

“Colonel Mhandu had a passion for improving the welfare of troops. During her tenure, a number of troops managed to acquire pieces of land for resettlement, especially in the Umguza constituency,” said Lt-Gen Sanyatwe.

“Most troops now have plots of theirs courtesy of the outgoing commander’s effort. She also initiated several self-help projects, which remain a trademark for the formation.”

Some of the projects include a thriving fish project, which is assisting the Regimental Institute to raise funds for self-sustenance. 

“The Colonel leaves behind a vividly rich legacy in the formation for all to see and envy. There was still an outstanding project meant to provide decent accommodation for officers. Let me reiterate that it was during her tenure that some houses were completed by the Construction Regiment,” said Lt-Gen Sanyatwe.

“What is left is for the completed houses to be occupied to ease accommodation challenges for non-commissioned members.” 

Lt-Gen Sanyatwe described Col Mhandu as a no-nonsense military commander who instilled discipline in her troops within the formation.

He said Col Ncube displayed a sense of loyalty and dedication during his illustrious military career.

In her handover speech, Col Mhandu said the team spirit shown by her colleagues helped her achieve her duties in the last three years at the helm. 

“We remained orderly, peaceful and prudent in the way we utilised resources in all our endeavours to address challenges in Bulawayo Metropolitan province. As a team, we worked very hard and hard work became our character,” she said.

New Bulawayo District commander Colonel Collen Ncube (right) is handed the formation colours by outgoing commander Colonel Ossie Oli Mhandu. Picture: Eliah Saushoma

“We shunned corruption and dealt with outward behaviour of whatever form and magnitude without fear or favour under my guidance. This formation remained resolute and unwavering in fighting against the scourge of drug and substance abuse.” 

In his acceptance speech, Col Ncube acknowledged the support that the formation continues to get from the traditional leadership who are custodians of heritage and culture. 

“I take command of Bulawayo District within a peaceful province and I fully acknowledge the great responsibility of ensuring that Bulawayo Metropolitan province remains peaceful and stable, to allow for economic growth and development,” he said.

New Bulawayo District commander Colonel Collen Ncube accepts the formation colours from Colonel Ossie Oli Mhandu. Picture: Eliah Saushoma

“I also take over a formation that majors on training the bulk of our ZNA members. I am now called upon to continue supporting the various training activities within my formation. As I take command of this formation, I am aware of the challenges that lie ahead of me, but I take it upon myself to face them head-on in a bid to maintain set standards.”

Col Ncube joined ZNA as an Officer Cadet at the Zimbabwe Military Academy and has served in various capacities within the army.

He is a trainer of repute, as he was once a Commandant at the School of Military Police and a member of Directing Staff at the Zimbabwe Staff College for both the Junior Staff Course and the Joint Command and Staff Course, where he served with distinction.

He worked for the better part of his career at the Zimbabwe Military Police where he rose to become Director Military Police.




You Might Also Like