Zimbabwe Military Academy

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The mission statement of the Zimbabwe National Army is "to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests of Zimbabwe and to contribute to international peace and security". To this end, training is their major peacetime preoccupation. Basic officer and officer cadet training is undertaken at the Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru.

The ZMA is affiliated to Midlands State University, allowing students to study for a Diploma in Military Training and Education. The Zimbabwe Military Academy is set to become an affiliate of the National Defence University.

Contact Details

Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA)
Robert Mugabe Way, between 6th and 7th Streets,



In 2007, large numbers of soldiers deserted and fled to South Africa for economic reasons. In some quarters, they were termed “the missing regiment” being about 1500 strong. However, they came from many units. “In February, scores of recently recruited officer cadets quit before finishing their courses at the elite Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru.” And in January, ten commandos deserted from a unit on the same night.

Complaints included; "We were ordered to vote for the ZANU-PF (Mugabe's party), and there were officers who were monitoring our voting; if you complained about salaries, they said 'You are subverting other soldiers' morale,” said a Sergeant who fought for nearly five years in the DRC. But the final straw, he says, was when his unit was called to beat up hospital employees striking for higher pay last February. A Corporal in Fifth Brigade left after his unit was ordered in 2000 to "force white settlers to move off their land.” One said "We are desperate." Most soldiers are leaving because of the economic crisis, not politics. "In Zimbabwe, we are not getting paid. We are just getting promises."

Many commentators claimed this "This spells doom and a painful end, [in the same vein as] Mengistu, Idi Amin, and Charles Taylor," referring to the former dictators of Ethiopia, Uganda, and Liberia, respectively. "This is the breakdown of Mugabe's most trusted sector; he banked on the military and the security forces," [1]

(Considering President Mugabe was only forced from office in 2017, ten years after ‘doom was spelt’, and died in the comfort of a Singapore hospital, (not a “painful end”), the facts and the predictions did not mesh in this case.)

In January 2010, the Zimbabwe Military Academy and Midlands State University, both in Gweru, partnered so that military cadets could then be awarded MSU diplomas in education on completion of their training. [2]

At the graduation ceremony of 188 cadets in June 2014, President Mugabe spoke of the low number (only 22) of female graduates. Five Namibians (the third Namibian group) also graduated in the mixed Army and Air Force (41) class. Three members of the course graduated in absentia as they were in China on further studies. This course is the fourth ZMA course to be affiliated with the Midlands State University.

The course (Number 67) started in September 2012, with 293 enrolled. One officer cadet died during the course, and 45 failed to complete the course. [3]

The 2012 course, it was revealed in 2019, had only a 47 percent pass rate, and four cadets died in the training. [4]

At the June 2017 graduation ceremony of the 33rd Regular Officer Cadet Course, President Mugabe commented that “ZMA would soon become an affiliate of the National Defence University following the gazetting of the National Defence University Charter by Government in March this year.” ZMA was already an affiliate of the MSU. 136 Officer Cadets were commissioned, a number which included twenty nine females and five Namibians. Namibian cadets have enrolled at ZMA for the past seven intakes.

President Mugabe also presented Unit and Formation Colours to Zimbabwe Military Academy, Zimbabwe School of Infantry, All Arms Battle School, Recruit Training Depot and One Air Defence Regiment. [5]

In May 2019, 149 officers, at the 35th Commissioners’ Cadet Ceremony, graduated with a Diploma in Military Training and Education in association with Midlands State University. 35 were female, including overall best cadet Nobesuthu Moyo. She received a sword of honour and US$500 from the President. Second best cadet Itai Katsega got US$300, and third placed Lloyd Mbonisi US$200. At least 215 officer cadets were enrolled at ZMA in September 2017 and of those, 149 were commissioned after 63 dropped for various reasons while three died during the period of the course. [6]


Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) is responsible for Regular Officer Cadet Training and Basic Officers Training. [7] 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. [4]

As an affiliate of Midlands State University (MSU), students may also study for a Diploma in Military Training and Education.

The ZMA is due to become an affiliate of the National Defence University. [5]

  1. Zimbabwe Army’s deserters underscore country’s troubles, 'Christian Science Monitor, Published: 25 April 2007, Retrieved: 9 December 2019
  2. Zimbabwe: Military Academy Partners MSU, The Herald, Published: 1 January 2010, Retrieved: 9 December 2019
  3. Officers Graduate, The Herald, Published: 1 Jun 2014, Retrieved: 6 December 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 Zimbabwe military cadets die in training, Zim24News, Published: 30 June 2019, Retrieved: 9 December 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 President commissions 136 officer cadets, The Herald, Published: 16 Jun 2017, Retrieved: 6 December 2019
  6. President Mnangagwa promotes more army officers, Zimbabwe Metro, Published: 25 May 2019, Retrieved: 9 December 2019
  7. Zimbabwe National Army, ZNA website, Retrieved: 6 December 2091

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