Engage ZDF in ongoing projects, communities told
Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, has invited communities with ongoing projects to approach the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for assistance with artisanal skills as that is part of their non-military obligation. Speaking at the official opening of Himago Secondary School in Bulilima yesterday, Dr Sekeramayi said the ZDF had artisans deployed across the country assisting in constructing schools, clinics, bridges as well as renovation of existing structures among other projects.
“The Defence Forces’ primary constitutional obligation is to defend the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and vital national interests. In addition they also have non-military obligations.
“The country is going through a time of peace but our biggest enemy is underdevelopment and poverty. Therefore, it is the duty of the defence forces to partner communities and fight this enemy. The defence forces will always be ready to assist and respond to any requests that come from any part of the country as it is their duty,” he said.
Dr Sekeramayi said communities were expected to mobilise their own resources while the defence forces would only provide artisanal skills.
He said the Bulilima Rural District Council approached the ZDF seeking assistance to complete construction of three classroom blocks at Himago Secondary School.
The minister said a team of engineers from the Zimbabwe National Army was deployed upon seeing a need to complete the school.
Dr Sekeramayi said before the school was constructed, pupils had to walk about 24 kilometres to reach the nearest school which forced many learners to drop-out.
“The main objective is to demonstrate that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is a people’s force being a product of the communities from where it recruits and gets its support. It is therefore in the interest of ZDF to ensure that they give back to these communities by helping improve their wellbeing whenever possible,” he said.
Dr Sekeramayi said the event was held in conjunction with the launch of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Community Assistance Week during which the ZDF holds various community assistance programmes.
Also speaking at the same event, the Minister of Policy Coordination and Promotion of Socio-Economic Ventures in the President’s Office, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, challenged community members to develop the school further.
He urged teachers that have been deployed to the school to show commitment towards their work to ensure that every learner leaves the school empowered.
Ambassador Khaya Moyo said the school would go a long way in addressing the challenge of pupils, who dropped out of school to work in Botswana, a major challenge in Bulilima and Mangwe districts.
“Parents let’s guard this school jealously as it’s our treasure. We want to see it transcending over the years to become a technical college or even a university. Learners you now have a school within your vicinity, use it to better your lives,” he said.
The project was jointly funded by Kombani Lodge, the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) and Mangwe community members, while construction was initially done by a civilian contractor and completed by members of the ZNA Engineer Corps.
Speaking on the challenges faced at Himago Secondary School, Mr Twoboy Dube said the institution only had three classroom blocks.
He said there was a need for more classrooms to accommodate more pupils. Mr Dube said the school initially had 81 learners.
He said 30 pupils had dropped out of school because of the long distances they travelled to attend lessons.
Mr Dube said the school also needed water, electricity, perimeter fence, text books and an administration block.
He said the school had one teacher’s cottage which was being used by four teachers — two female and two male.