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Members of the public should not fear or shun the Zimbabwe National Army, but respect the officers while they execute their national duty, Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa has said.Cde Mudarikwa said this on Saturday in a speech read on his behalf by Senator, Chief Nyamukoho of Mutoko at the 2.2 Infantry Battalion belated 34th anniversary celebrations in Mudzi where there was a fun shoot by members of the public.

“As the name implies, fun shoot is a come together gathering between the military and the members of the public, for the purpose of social interaction,” he said.

“On this day, the public have an opportunity to have an insight of military life and use of a fire-arm (rifle).”

Cde Mudarikwa said the occasion was meant to foster close relations between the parties and promote civil-military relations.

“Due to lack of knowledge on the military, most members of the public look at the Defence Forces, and the army in particular, in a more suspicious and negative way,” he said.

“These are our Defence Forces, our children, sons and daughters. They come from us and are executing a national duty. Do not fear or shun them, but respect them.”

Cde Mudarikwa said the army was there to protect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Despite economic challenges experienced in the last decade or so, Zimbabwe has remained a peaceful country since independence,” he said.

“As we speak, there are wars raging within and outside Africa. Wars cause a lot of destruction and suffering to mankind. There is no peace and development in any war situation. By peace maintenance, the defence forces create an enabling environment for development and prosperity in the country.”

Cde Mudarikwa urged the business community and the public to support the defence forces, but bemoaned the economic challenges that the country is experiencing.

“Like any other Government institution in the country, the army is not spared by the economic challenges the country is going through, so you need to support them,” he said.

“Following the newly introduced economic blueprint Zim-Asset, our defence forces have been spearheading a lot of projects towards this direction, we thank them for that.”

Speaking at the same event, 2.2 Infantry Battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Lizwe Nyathi, who hosted the fun shooting, thanked the Mudzi community for supporting the army.

“What I have learnt from our community and the province at large is that if invited for an occasion, you come in numbers and you are very supportive,” said Lt Col Nyathi.

During the celebrations, more than 100 civilians took part in the fun shooting and the winners were awarded beer, soft drinks and caps from NetOne as prizes.

The event was attended by chiefs from the area and Government officials.

Source : The Herald