Zimbabwe National Army

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Zimbabwe National Army
Officers from the ZNA
Motto'Our swords are the shield of the nation'
HeadquartersHarare, Army Headquarters
Commander in ChiefEmmerson Mnangagwa
Minister of DefenceOppah Muchinguri
Commander of ZNAEdzai Absolom Chanyuka Chimonyo

The Zimbabwe National Army is the country's military wing which was established with the role of ensuring territorial integrity, peace, stability and security. The force was established in 1980 after the country attained its Independence from colonial rule.


The Lancaster House Agreement negotiated in the United Kingdom in 1979 on the conflict in Rhodesia ushered in the independence of Zimbabwe.[1] In the same agreement was a provision for the formation of a new post independence Army, the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). The ZNA drew its membership from three former belligerent Armies, namely; the Rhodesian Army (RA), the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) and the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA).[1]

In 1980 Lieutenant General George Peter Walls was assigned by the then Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe to supervise the forces integration process.[1] His assignment was short-lived since he quickly fell out of the Prime Minister’s favour for complicity as there had been a number of attempts on his life just before the commencement of the integration process. A much more representative organisation, the Joint High Command (JHC), was established by the Prime Minister in March 1980 to spearhead the integration of forces into the ZNA.[1]

The then Minister of State Security, Emmerson Mnangagwa was appointed its Chairman. Key members of this superior command structure were mainly drawn from the 3 former belligerent Armies. These were Rhodesian Army Commander Lieutenant General LC Maclean, ZANLA and ZIPRA represented by their respective Commanders, Generals Solomon Mujuru and Lookout Masuku respectively.[2]

Additional members of the Joint High Command were Air Marshal Norman Walsh, Brigadier General Vitalis Zvinavashe, Mr B.A Page, Major General Palmer, Major General Thompson.[1] Complementing the integration process were parallel standardisation training programmes run by the British Military Advisory and Training Team (BMATT) at different command levels for the forming of ZNA. By mid 1980, a number of newly integrated ZNA units had been formed with General Mujuru as the first Commander ZNA.[1]

Regional and International Interventions

The ZNA embarked on a number of military expeditions both regionally and internationally. The force played a significant role towards ensuring that peace and tranquillity prevail in Mozambique during the period 1983-1992 and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under the Southern African Development Community Allied Forces from 1998 to 2002.[3]

Pursuant to its external commitment, the ZNA participated in observer and peacekeeping missions in Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, Lesotho, Cote d'lvoire, Liberia, Nepal, Burundi and Sudan. Furthermore, the Army has taken part in flood and other natural disaster rescue related situations in Namibia, Zambia and Mozambique. In 2015, members of the force were deployed in Equatorial Guinea where they offered security during the AFCON games held in Malabo.

Community Assistance

The army has helped the local community in several ways. In 2014, members of the ZNA offered help to victims of the Tokwe Mukosi Disaster who were affected by flooding in Masvingo. In 2013, they also offered assistance in the Mzarabani area in Mashonaland Central Province were villagers were affected by flooding of the Zambezi River.

Army Commanders

When General Solomon Mujuru retired from the Army in 1992, General Vitalis Zvinavashe took over command. He was later appointed the first Commander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) on its establishment in 1994. General Constantine Chiwenga took over command of the ZNA. In 2004, General Vitalis Zvinavashe retired from the ZDF. He was succeeded by General Constantine Chiwenga. Lieutenant General Philip Valerio Sibanda took over command of the Army from 2004.[4]. In December 2017, Edzai Absolom Chanyuka Chimonyo became the commander of the ZNA after Sibanda was promoted to Commander Defence Forces.

Recruitment and Training

The Zimbabwe National Army recruits nationals who are 18 years and above. It does not segregate on the basis of sex and has a considerable number of women in various departments. Recruits go through a number of medical and physical examinations to ensure that they are mentally and physically fit for the job. It also requires a number of Ordinary level passes in order to be included in the national army.

Training Depots

  1. Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA)
  2. All Arms Battle School (AABS
  3. Zimbabwe School of Infantry (ZSI)
  4. Recruit Training Depot (RTD)[5]

Military Schools in Zimbabwe

  1. Zimbabwe School of Military Engineers (ZSME).
  2. School of Artillery.
  3. Armour Training School.
  4. School of Signals.
  5. School of Military Intelligence.
  6. Instructors Training School.
  7. Medical Training School.
  8. Ordinance and Transport Training School.
  9. School of Military Police.
  10. Information Technology Training School.
  11. School of Logistics.
  12. Pay Corps Training School.
  13. Army School of Sports.[5]


The roles of the ZNA include defending Zimbabwe's territorial integrity, independence, sovereignty, socio economic well being, vital interests and participation in peacekeeping operations. Tasks undertaken by the ZNA to fulfil these roles include Conventional War Operations, Military Aid to Civil Power (which encompasses Counter Insurgency Operations and Internal Security Operations), Military Aid to Civil Ministries/Communities and Military Operations in Support of International Order and Humanitarian Assistance.[6]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 , History, retrieved:26 Jun 2014"
  2. , Inside the Zimbabwe National Army - Entrenching Zanu PF Partisanship, Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition, published:19 Jan 2012,retrieved:26 Jun 2014"
  3. S. Charumbira, Play decries DRC war intervention, The Standard, published:20 Jan 2013,retrieved:26 Jun 2014"
  4. , Army of Lesser Africa Zimbabwe National Army],retrieved:26 Jun 2014"
  5. 5.0 5.1 , Training, retrieved:26 Jun 2014"
  6. Roles,retrieved:26 Jun 2014"