HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the country must endeavour to coordinate economic development with national defence and security.

In his address at the Defence Forces Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare today, the President said the long standing relationship between the army and the people must be rekindled and nurtured.

“I appeal to all Zimbabweans to reject those who perpetuate the suffering of the people through violence. I urge the nation to shun violence and exercise peace,” he said.

President Mnangagwa commended the Zimbabwe defence Forces (ZDF) for maintaining  peace and order.

“Since the attainment of independence our country has enjoyed peace and stability as a result of the selfless dedication and sacrifice of these fine men and women of our nation,” he said.

The President also applauded the women and men of the ZDF for their assistance in response to Tropical Cyclone Idai which left a trail of distraction in some parts of the country especially in Manicaland.

“We applaud the focused intervention of the ZDF for their quest to reach inaccessible places in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts. Let me take this opportunity to thank the people of Zimbabwe and the international community who helped in the time of need,” President Mnangagwa said.

He added that the government will ensure the ZDF will play its part internationally, saying Zimbabwe is indeed committed and ready to play its part in ensuring a more peaceful, modern and integrated Africa.

President Mnangagwa also spoke about the ZDF’s commitment to uplifting the lives of the people while paying tribute to international demining companies for rendering assistance to Zimbabwe in the demining exercise.

“The ZDF continues to play its role in assisting people locally. I implore the general public to embrace the National Clean-up Campaign to ensure Zimbabwe achieves vision 2030 of a world class city status and middle income economy,” he said.

President Mnangagwa urged the nation to be patient while the government is working tirelessly to turn around the economic fortunes of the country. “The ongoing Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) is meant to promote production and also ensure food security. Be patient with the government as the austerity measures were put in place to cure the country’s economic ailment. The cure will be bitter, but we assure you we are in the right path,” he said.

The President commended the ZDF for their developmental projects around the country and  promised that his government will expedite the construction of houses for the military forces. – ZBC