Magazine article New African

Armies Have a Role in Indigenization: During Peacetime, an Army Has to Train and Retool, but It Must Also Deploy in Activities That Promote Economic Growth and General Development. the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Cannot Escape This Role in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Process, Says George Magosvongwe, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment

Magazine article New African

Armies Have a Role in Indigenization: During Peacetime, an Army Has to Train and Retool, but It Must Also Deploy in Activities That Promote Economic Growth and General Development. the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Cannot Escape This Role in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Process, Says George Magosvongwe, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment

Article excerpt

ZIMBABWE'S INDIGENISATION AND economic empowerment (IEE) agenda is a negation of the Rhodesian exclusionary paradigm, which was part of the governance plan and budgetary matrix of the colonial administration. It was a veritable instrument of control and subjugation of the majority black population, and was based on the dispossession of indigenous people of their human dignity and economic resources, thus shutting them out of the mainstream economy.

The IEE agenda is therefore an expression of the economic aspirations of indigenous Zimbabweans. It is a strategy to combat poverty, disease, unemployment, infrastructural decay, and inadequacy. It is also an instrument to improve the living standards of our people.

The agenda seeks to undo the colonial resource ownership patterns and the present and continuing domination of our economic environment by foreigners. It is therefore premised on a clear vision of retrieving the national resource heritage from foreign control and domination, to restore the dignity of the majority indigenous population, foster a spirit of inclusive development, and indeed promote the defence of national independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

It is imperative that indigenous people have control over the economy, otherwise Zimbabwe's sovereignty will be compromised and our ability to plan for our own development will be curtailed. No foreign nation or nationals go out of their way to develop another people. Actions by nations are always undertaken on the basis of enlightened self-interest, which means the pursuit of permanent expedient interests rather than permanent friendship. An indigenous army or defence force must therefore develop the capacity to understand its country's national interests and enable itself to develop the capacity to articulate, protect, defend, and expand that interest. An army that does not comprehend the national interest would not be able to defend indigenous values, assets, and related indigenous human aspirations.

So the defence force must continue to be a learning organisation, capable of defending the territory while simultaneously appreciating and understanding the environmental forces, economic influences, and ICT-based asymmetric interventions that impact the national defence paradigm.

Armies come from communities and it is a cardinal sin to try to separate soldiers from the communities that they originate from. Therefore, peacetime infrastructural development programmes such as the construction of schools, clinics, hospitals, roads, irrigation systems, and even volunteer-based Youth Build Zimbabwe projects must attract the active interest of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF).

As such, its participation in joint venture mining and agricultural ventures strengthens indigenous people's participation in the economy.

Therefore, calls by the Commander-in-Chief, President Robert Mugabe, for l00% indigenously-owned businesses to be established cannot escape notice by institutions such as the Army Benefit Fund. Joint venture initiatives in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) or housing schemes for young soldiers all come into full view.

The ZDF can even establish or strengthen ordinance manufacturing ventures and food canning and processing ventures under the Zimbabwe Defence Industries so that we have an indigenously supplied defence force. The sky is the limit.

THE ARMY'S ROLE

The security forces are the custodians of Zimbabwe's sovereignty, natural resources, land and human resources, values, processes and systems. They protect the country from external and internal threats. These threats may be physical or intangible--cyberspace and asymmetry being an example of the latter.

Having a history of the liberation struggle and understanding the premise upon which the struggle was executed, Zimbabweans know and understand the core issues at stake in the protection of the aforesaid. …

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