President Robert Mugabe has presided over the unveiling of flags and colours for Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) regiments at a special ceremony held during Tuesday's annual commemorations of the important the role of the army in defending the country.

The ZDF is composed of various regiments which have different characteristics to distinguish them but since 1980, only the Commando Regiment had been presented with its colours.

More than 40,000 people were at the National Sports Stadium here to witness the unveiling ceremony and celebrate Defence Forces Day, led by President Mugabe, as Commander-In-Chief of the ZDF.

Up to 10 regimental flags were unveiled for the different units such as the Parachute Regiment, Artillery Brigade, Mechanised Brigade, Presidential Guard Brigade and the 1st to the 5th Infantry Brigades.

Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi said the colours were "critical in instilling a sense of discipline and identity in the regiments".

President Mugabe applauded the ZDF for effectively delivering on its mandate and carrying out a number of peace-time projects that have helped solidify the army's relationship with the public.

Among such initiatives are construction of schools and clinics across the country, rescuing of villagers marooned by floods, de-mining exercises and assisting in distribution of food relief.

"This year, as part of the Food Security Task Force, they have been heavily instrumental as they took the lead in the acquisition and movement of food relief to all the country's 10 provinces," President Mugabe said.