ACTING Defence Minister Webster Shamu yesterday urged the country's defence forces to understand the prevailing socio-economic environment as it has a bearing on the security challenges facing the nation.
Minister Shamu said this when he officiated at the graduation of 31 officers attending the Junior Staff Course drawn from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the SADC region at the Zimbabwe Staff College.
"Your study of Zimbabwe's socio-economic matters was meant to broaden your understanding of the dynamics at play in the socio-economic environment obtaining in the country," he said.
"It is imperative for the defence forces to understand the socio-economic environment obtaining in their respective countries as these may also be the source of the security challenges you may be faced with."
Zimbabwe has been at the receiving end of the Western countries onslaught in the past decade as they seek to effect an illegal regime change.
The Western countries imposed illegal sanctions on the country as a result of the land reform.
Minister Shamu said the empowerment policies were meant to avert conflict due to unequal distribution of resources.
"It is against this background that the Government of Zimbabwe embarked on the land reform and the on-going indigenisation programmes.
"To some, the two programmes may appear unrelated but in reality they share a common vision of involving the previously disadvantaged indigenous communities to the fore of economic participation which has long been dominated by foreign corporations.
"The land reform and the indigenisation programmes are a clear testimony that the Government of Zimbabwe understands the negative impact of subjecting the people to second class citizenship with regards to economic participation which could lead to social ills and the fomenting of conflict," Minister Shamu said.
He said the inclusion of forces from other SADC countries was a sign of cordial relations that exist among States in the region.
"I passionately believe that such enrolements are tangible evidence of our country's commitment and contribution to regional military integration and would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that our training institutions are prepared to welcome more students from the SADC region and beyond.
"The joint training of our defence forces is also ample testimony of the harmonious and cordial relations that exist between our countries.
"I have no doubt that the inclusion of foreign students promotes cross pollination of ideas and subsequent cultivation of mutual trust between our defence forces which I believe is a key ingredient towards regional security and socio-economic integration," he said.
The foreign students were drawn from Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Lesotho.
The Minister also urged the officers to stay abreast with latest technological developments in light of the use of social media in the uprisings that rocked the Arab world last year.
He urged the graduating officers to implement things they learnt during the six month-long course.
The JSC covered areas like tactics, logistics, leadership, training and peace support.