Only 47% of those recruited into the Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) officers’ course made it to the graduating class of 2012 and it has been made public that four aspiring cadets died during the gruelling military course.
The 20-month Regular Officer Cadet training course is divided into three main phases, specifically introduction to the military, conventional warfare and low intensity operations.
The deceased, Desire Mapedze, Blessings Doba, Tafadzwa Manhobo and Thamsanqa Hakatani died in the early stages of the programme, the Zimbabwe National Army said.
The course initially had 165 recruits. Out of those, only 21 were female. But from the graduating class 8 women made it and in total only 79 graduated with the rank of Second Lieutenant.
The Commander-In-Chief of Zimbabwe’s military, President Robert Mugabe, told the graduates at the pass-out parade last week that he still holds the Zimbabwe military in high esteem after years of hardships.
“It is most pleasing to note that the ZMA continues to carry out its mandate and responsibility of educating and training junior officers in order to provide the nation with future military leaders of exemplary character and loyalty.
“This is despite the economic challenges facing our country which have resulted in reduced funding for many Government programmes. I am aware that these challenges also affected the Academy, but due to the commitment by the Academy’s staff, you have soldiered on,” Mugabe said.
“From the graduating class there were four Namibian cadets who will from now be posted to Namibia’s defence forces.
“To our Namibian friends, you came, you saw and emerged victorious. Today you are officers in your own right. You return to Namibia as our ambassadors since you now have a better understanding of the ZMA, the ZDF and indeed Zimbabwe as a whole,” Mugabe added.
The Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) is responsible for regular officer cadet training and Basic Officers Training (BOC).
In 2008 at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic woes it was reported that the Zimbabwe National Army was underfunded, standards in recruitment had been lowered and morale was at its lowest.
But recently Zimbabwe has been allocating considerable funding to the military with the aid of the People’s Republic of China, which helped to build the US$98 million state of the art Zimbabwe Defence College.