By Erica Jecha
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa Tuesday said he was proud of the competency being shown by women working in the security forces, vowing that his government would ensure they are capacitated to deal with more challenging demands.
He was speaking at the commemorations of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces(ZDF) day held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
Mnangagwa said it was heartwarming to note that more women were exceptionally participating in mission duties adding that the officers will be trained to in case a major threat to national security arises.
‘It is heartening to note that 55 percent of the total ZDF contingent deployed on United Nations missions are women, which far surpasses the 18 percent requirement set by the United Nations’ he said.
“The deployed officers are doing the nation proud due to their exceptional performance during these missions.
“It was only recently that Major Winnet Zharare was conferred with a commendation medal and the 2021 United Nations military Gender Advocate of the year Award.
In November 2020, Major Zharare was deployed to the Bentiu field office for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) as a Military Observer and Chief Military Information Officer. Seeing first-hand how women are often excluded from decision-making, she immediately launched a plan to help empower them.
Zharare promoted mixed-gender patrols to build trust, improve protection efforts and boost community engagement. She successfully brought together women and men from local communities to farm and build dikes together to alleviate food shortages and prevent further displacement.
She contributed to the increased production of gender-disaggregated data and advocated for gender parity within the mission. She made it a priority to ensure that local civilian and military authorities, as well as community representatives, involved both men and women in meetings with the UN.
Mnangagwa said she deserved such recognition.
“This was in recognition of her exemplary performance during her deployment as a military observer in South Sudan,” said the President.
Mnangagwa also said as a member of SADC, the AU and UN , Zimbabwe would remain committed to contributing to international peace and stability.
“In this regard, my government will ensure that the officers, men and women of the ZDF are continually trained, well equipped and disciplined , including sending some officers, men and women for training in friendly countries so that they can effectively respond to potential threats to national security.