Being a soldier is more than lip singing

By Samuel Bachi

I am very thankful for the time I served in the Zimbabwe National Army. I’m proud to have been part of Zimbabwe Defence Forces which has a world-wide reputation.

ZDF has been amongst the most peaceful and disciplined forces on the globe. It is known for its tendency towards being non-confrontational and it is true that it makes an effort to show goodwill to others. Friendliness is a cultural method and a mastered means that has been endeared by ZDF so as to appeal to global neighbours near and far to feel welcomed both into our homes and our hearts. However, make no mistake. Amid our politeness and neighbourly mindsets, ZDF is a force of fierce fighters prepared to die for something it strongly believes in. As a nation, we have generated some of the bravest and strongest soldiers that the world has ever seen.

It is these attributes and determination that have informed the training and manuals of the recruits to be attested into the Army. Also, the history of Zimbabwe has a critical role in the formulation vision, aspirations and ethics of the ZDF. Also, the geopolitical terrain has also informed the manuals for trainings and orientation of new recruits. The ZDF is formed on the premises of patriotism, liberation struggle legacy and commitment to uphold and defend the constitution of Zimbabwe as well as its territorial integrity.  If one is not determined to undergo the paces of military training and is not also patriotic, it is not possible for one to be part of it no matter how much one loves or admires to be in that esteemed camouflage.

Utterances by the Citizens Coalition for Change leader, Nelson Chamisa at a rally he addressed to an empty stadium speaks volumes to his character and mental wellbeing. One cannot claim to be a determined individual who was determined to join the Zimbabwe National Army and has passed all the selection process only to retract for fear of a rigorous training. This tells that Chamisa is not prepared to forgo his comfort and laziness. Chamisa has exposed himself that he wants to be spoon-fed in all his endeavours. This then explains why he was at the fore front of calling for illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe from the western countries so that he would force the masses to give in to regime change mechanisation. This is gross exhibition of lack of patriotism.

Chamisa could have emulated his father who served in the Army. However, because Chamisa has always been a lazy boy, he just wanted to get everything from a silver platter.  He could not follow his father’s footsteps. The way he ascended to the helm of the MDC T after the demise of Morgan Tsvangirai is another testimony that Chamisa is not a patient character. He could not wait for a Congress or for burial of Tsvangirai. After the 2018 harmonised elections, Chamisa could not wait for the announcement of Presidential results. He organised for violent demonstrations. He has never been patient in everything he does.  

Equally important, after he lost the MDC T Party to Douglas Mwonzora, Chamisa went on to form a structureless political cult in the make of Citizens Coalition for Change. The CCC went on to contest in various by elections without a constitution, structures or even an interim steering committee. The mind-set of Chamisa could not have made it possible for him to make it into the ZDF.

Chamisa need to be reminded that being a soldier is more than lip signing, one has to be courageous. Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to face it and continue no matter the cost, no matter the obstacles. It is fighting the enemy like a wildcat, refusing to bail out or walk away from difficult challenges. Noble soldiers courageously step into battle even though it means they may suffer for it.


Other than courage, a military career is all about commitment to the cause. Serving in the military is a serious form sacrifice and selflessness.  A good soldier knows that warfare is not a game for the causally committed. A good soldier is anything but casual in their commitment. Rather a good soldier stays committed amid the hardship. They never quit. Their sense of commitment causes them to endure whatever comes their way. They are focused, never losing sight of the task at hand. Military men do not get distracted but remain determined to the cause   at all costs. They know what the goals are and refuse to give up.


Lastly, noble soldiers manifest and clearly understand what true servant hood looks like. They see the needs of others as being more important than their own. Servant hood is not about position or even skill. It is about a heart attitude. It is about serving without expecting anything in return. Chamisa failed to exhibit all these attributes of a soldier since the time he wanted to join the military up to today in politics. Chamisa can best be described as a selfish opportunist who is bent on capitalising on the general vulnerability of circumstances to his personal enrichment and ego.