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Zimbabwe president calls for efforts to modernize defense forces to meet changing environment
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Photo caption – Zimbabwean soldiers march during the 39th anniversary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day Celebrations in Harare, Zimbabwe. (Xinhua/Shaun Jusa)

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Tuesday that his government would ensure that the Zimbabwe Defense Forces are fully equipped and trained in line with the changing environment.

Addressing the military and thousands of civilians who thronged the National Sports Stadium to mark the 39th anniversary of the establishment of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces and to celebrate the Defense Forces Day, he said his administration supported efforts to modernize the military.

In view of the ever-changing socio-economic, technological and security architecture, the modernization of our defense forces has become urgent and imperative.

“My government is therefore prioritizing the upgrading of equipment as well as facilitating focused training of specialized units in both the army and air force. The provision of skills training and raising the forces preparedness in general has also received my administration’s full support,” he said.

At the international level, he said the government would ensure that ZDF played its role in the achievement of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and promote the silencing of guns on the continent.

“Zimbabwe is indeed committed and ready to play its part in ensuring a more peaceful, empowered, modernized, industrialized and integrated Africa,” he said.

Mnangagwa also praised ZDF for working with international partners in the removal of anti-personnel mines which were planted during the war of liberation in the 1970s.

He said a cumulative area of 900,000 square meters had been cleared between Aug. 2018 and June 2019.

At independence, the country had six minefields covering an estimated 2,700 km along the borders with Mozambique and Zambia. Landmines and other explosive remnants of the war remain dangerous to the border-lying communities, with about 1,650 people killed and many others injured.

Zimbabwe in early 2018 launched an eight-year national mine action strategic plan to ensure a coordinated approach and speed up the clearance of anti-personnel mines.

The plan aims to mobilize local and international support to enable the country to meet the goal of being land mine free by 2025.

After becoming a state party to the anti-personnel landmine ban convention in 1999, Zimbabwe failed to meet the deadline to clear all land mines within 10 years of ratifying the convention, and has sought five extensions of varying durations.

The country was granted the current and fifth extension period running from 2018-2025. (Xinhua)

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