Freedom Mupanedemo Midlands Bureau
Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Phillip Valerio Sibanda has said the uniformed forces had a “secondary” mandate of assisting communities in developmental projects and institutions in need of artisanal expertise should approach any defence forces unit next to them.
Speaking during the handover of a classroom block which was built by the Zimbabwe National Army at Redcliff Primary School in Redcliff, Gen Sibanda said Government institutions with ongoing construction projects were free to approach any nearest defence unit for assistance in the construction of their structures.
He said the institutions should, however, mobilise their building materials and menial labour first before they approach the army for artisanal assistance.
“As you might be aware, our primary role as the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is to defend the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interest. Military aide to civil communities and authorities is therefore a part of our secondary role.
“We do these community assistance projects throughout the country,” he said.
Gen Sibanda said once the community identifies a project and all the materials were on the ground, the military artisans take very little time to complete the project.
“Let me explain to you the procedure that those communities in need of our assistance should follow. Once a community has identified a need for assistance, they should approach the commanding officer or the commander of the defence forces unit next to them.
“ The commanding officer or the commander of the defence forces unit next to them has certain authority that allows him or her to undertake certain projects up to a certain level. If he is unable to undertaken the project using the local resources, he will advise ZNA Headquarters or Air Force of Zimbabwe headquarters, you will then be advised when the project will be undertaken,” he said.
Gen Sibanda said it was, however, important to mobilise all the resources needed for the project so that the army artisans who are supposed to service the whole nation would not spend much time on one project.
“What is important is that the authority requesting for our assistance must ensure that they have the materials on the ground and they have the labour, we as the defence forces will provide you with the artisans,” he said.
Gen Sibanda said the ZDF gave priority to rural areas which were underdeveloped.
“The bias is towards the communal areas because these areas have always been disadvantaged and we want to try and address those imbalances,” he said.
Gen Sibanda said the ZDF was taking advantage of the Defence Forces Community Week to commission various projects they have been doing in communities throughout the country.
He said the ZDF was concentrating on building classroom blocks to give children a conducive learning environment.
“The children are our future leaders so we want to give them a good foundation so apart from these projects we are doing as the ZDF, I urge parents to also develop interest in shaping the future of their children,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, Redcliff Primary School head Mrs Tabeth Chinembiri thanked the ZDF for helping them in the construction of the ECD block.
She said the new ECD block will accommodate four classes.