The Zimbabwe Defense Forces marked its 34th anniversary with President Mugabe praising the force for maintaining peace in the country as well as taking part in regional and international peace keeping missions.
Mr. Mugabe told thousands of people, who thronged the National Sports Stadium to mark the day, that the Zimbabwe Defense Forces’ commitment to national security was second to none.
He said apart from their security duties, the forces were also transforming people’s lives through community services such as constructing schools and providing food aid through programs like Operation Maguta.
Mr. Mugabe said the defense forces enjoy cordial relations with their regional counterparts and are currently involved in the setting up of the Southern African Development Community and African Union standby or rapid response forces.
Zimbabwean soldiers have served in regional campaigns in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo and also continue doing peace-keeping duties under the United Nations in countries like South Sudan and Nepal.
To date, the Zimbabwe Defense Forces has deployed more than 5,000 soldiers to various countries on UN peace-keeping missions.
Harare resident Itai Mudzivaidze commended the forces, especially for their service during to UN peace-keeping missions.
President Mugabe used the occasion to honor 21 liberation war heroes with Liberation and Independence medals.
The 21, who include John Makwasha, Pilate Dube, Shadreck Chipanga, Irene Maesera Dube and Florence Miti, were pioneers of the armed wings of the liberation struggle.
Several other officers were honored for their heroic exploits in the Democratic Republic of Congo war which was known as Operation Sovereign Legitimacy in the later 1990s.
Zimbabwe commemorates defense forces day on the second week of August. This year the commemorations were held under the theme; “Tracing the Genesis of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces”.