The Republican President Hakainde Hichilema says discussions are underway to re-introduce voluntary national training under the Zambia National Service (ZNS) for the young people.
President Hichilema who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Force disclosed that he has laid down a proposal to the Ministry of Defence and Service Chiefs to devise a plan on how to re-introduce the program which was mandatory during the United National Independence Party (UNIP) days.
“This policy initiated by Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda shaped us and the youth of those days in appreciating a culture of hard work, the purpose of strong discipline, the need for patience, and the importance of patriotism to our nation,” Mr Hichilema said
Speaking when he officiated at the Golden Jubilee celebrations for the ZNS at Chongwe Unit held under the theme “Celebrating 50 Years of Rendering Unbroken Service and Fostering Development to Our Motherland Zambia” President Hichilema observed that there has been disparities in the levels of patriotism, dedication and commitment to duty between the current crop of youths and those that underwent voluntary training.
“Thank you ZNS Commander and other Service Chiefs for continuing to provide skills training to our young people. If I had my way I would re- introduce national service. I can see the difference between those of us who underwent training and those that have not,” President Hichilema said
The Head of State said youths who go through national service rarely engage in vices because they are well-trained and behaved.
Mr Hichilema has since urged young people who will be recruited in the Defence and other security wings to remain committed if they are to succeed in their bid to serve the nation with pride.
He added that officers in the Zambia Defence Force must defend the nation’s sovereignty and independence by being professional and committed.
The Head of State mentioned that his Government will continue extending the much-needed support to the men and women in uniform because they are defenders of the nation’s security.
“To this day, ZNS continues to play a pivotal role in skills development of our youth, and in that regard we urge them to create a pool of talented engineers, agriculturalists and agricultural economists that will help the country in optimising the production and distribution of food and fibre products for local consumption, as well as for the export market. We also support their endeavour to commercialise some service production ventures as a way to increase our country’s economic activities,” President Hichilema mentioned
Speaking during the same event, the Honorable Minister of Defence Mr Ambrose Lufuma said that he will work closely with ZNS to ensure that it continues to play a crucial role in ensuring national food security in the country.
Mr Lufuma noted that the Service, through its farms and agribusiness, has been contributing to the country’s food basket by growing enough food to feed the nation.
Meanwhile, ZNS Commander Lieutenant General Maliti Solochi said that the Service was humbled to be associated with the country’s history of fighting for liberation of part of the Southern African region.
Lt Gen Solochi added that in the past 50 years, the Service has been of help to the nation through its military and industry roles.
“We are committed to the promotion of an atmosphere of unity and effective collaboration with our sister services in order to give comfort to the Government and the people of Zambia that the Defence Force is ready to respond to any security threat be it at short notice,” Lt Solochi said
The ZNS Golden Jubilee was attended by some Cabinet Ministers, Chief Bunda Bunda of the Soli people, Defence Attaches from embassies accredited to Zambia and former defence chiefs.
The Jubilee celebration coincided with the remembrance of the youth who died at Chongwe bridge in pursuit of Zambia’s freedom and the neighbouring countries.