GOVERNMENT has urged defence force personnel to be on alert for emergency support to people who may fall victim to projected floods in some parts of the country.

Minister of Defence Kalombo Mwansa said Government is confident and grateful to the army personnel for helping in mitigating the impact of floods in Zambia.

“This is well within the scope of your duties as it promotes quality civil-military relations in our country,” Dr Mwansa said.

He said this during the 2010 Zambia Army headquarters officers’ annual ball at Arakan Barracks in Lusaka on on December 31.

Dr Mwansa also commended the Zambia Army for their good performance in the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions in other countries.

He said the peacekeeping missions have earned Zambia international respect.

Dr Mwansa commended Zambia Army Commander Lieutenant General Wisdom Lopa for his inspirational leadership.

“I commend you army commander for your recent visit to the Abeyi region of Sudan where our troops are stationed for peacekeeping duties. Your visit is a mark of visionary and inspirational leadership and has undoubtedly raised the morale of our officers deployed there,” Dr Mwansa said.

He also reiterated the need for uniformed personnel to remain neutral and loyal to the Government of the day
Dr Mwansa said a fair and balanced service is the definition of any army in a democratic country.

He said, however, that the army personnel are free to exercise their franchise and access competing parties but must do so away from political party involvement and outside official duties.

Dr Mwansa also said that Government remains committed to improving the welfare of the defence personnel.

He said the military will, like other Zambians, benefit from economic successes that Government is scoring.

“The welfare of our defence force personnel shall always remain a top priority. We are in the process of building houses for our gallant men and women in uniform,” he said.

Dr Mwansa said Government has also appointed a salaries review commission to look into conditions of service for all Government employees, including those in the military.

“I therefore urge you all to remain patient and wait for Government to study the report of the commission once it is submitted,” Dr Mwansa said.

He said that Government will also carry out another countrywide recruitment exercise of officers and soldiers next year to increase manpower levels in the Army.

Speaking earlier, General Lopa said the Zambia Army is aware of government’s commitment to uplifting the welfare of its officers.

Gen Lopa said the Army will remain steadfast in protecting the sovereignty of the country.

He also congratulated President Banda for Government’s remarkable successes in the economic and social sectors.

Meanwhile, Zambia National Service (ZNS) deputy commandant Brigadier General Nathan Mulenga has cautioned service personnel against involvement in partisan politics, especially now that the country is headed for general elections.

“There will be a lot of pressure from various political parties trying to woo you into their camps.
You are to remain professional and only be loyal to the Government of the day,” Gen Mulenga said.

He was speaking in Lusaka on the night of December 31 at an annual ball for ZNS warrant officers and senior non-commissioned officers.

Gen Mulenga said the ZNS should be robust and live up to its distinct responsibilities that include training, livestock production, crop production and industrial production.

He also said that in order to improve the welfare of personnel, the command intends to maximise the benefits that the staff derives from proceeds that are realised from production activities.

“In that regard, the command has instructed that 20 percent of the total proceeds realised after sales should go towards the welfare of men. The investment shall take the form of buying building materials to construct staff houses, building or extending existing health facilities and constructing or improving pre-schools, among others,” he said.

The 80 percent will be ploughed back in production.

[ Sunday Mail ]

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