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Military traditional weekening, HH should be advised correctly, says Dr M’membe

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Socialist Party Presidential Dr Fred M’membe says President Hakainde Hichilema should be correctly advised on how things are supposed to be done as military traditions seem to be weakening in armed forces.

Dr M’membe says the military is built on traditions, customs and manners, and as a result its members share a common experience.

” As Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of our military, it can be very valuable for Mr Hakainde Hichilema to learn about the traditions and customs his soldiers and officers participate in as a part of the military community,” he said.

Dr M’membe says knowing the basics of common military traditions and customs can help President Hichilema feel more comfortable visiting his soldiers and officers on an installation or attending a military ceremony.

“The military, as a social institution, plays an important role in ensuring the stability of society and maintaining peace. At the same time, it is important for the key leadership of our country to understand the genesis of the formation of military traditions, their further development, and improvement.

“After all, the Armed Forces are manifested as a specific society, where there are specific military traditions that have been formed over a historical period of time. Military traditions have a positive impact on the combat readiness of those serving in our armed forces,” Dr M’membe said.

He says on December 21, President Hichilema officiated at the Zambia National Service (ZNS) Golden Jubilee celebrations in Chongwe District.

The organisation of this celebration, in terms of military traditions and customs, was disastrous.

“ZNS Commandant Lt Gen Maliti Solochi miserably failed to follow basic military traditions and customs, and the net effect of this was to show a lack of respect for the Commander-in-Chief.

” Lt Gen Solochi failed to present a mock guard of honour for the Commander-in-Chief required by military traditions and customs. This was shocking to those who understand military traditions and customs, who understand how things should be done and who should do them.

“And legally, Lt Gen Solochi is not Commander of ZNS. He is Commandant. The Commander of ZNS is the Zambia Army Commander, Lt Gen Dennis Alibuzwi. Legally, ZNS is a unit of the Zambia Army. It has been a very big mistake to make the ZNS Commandant have the same rank as that of the Zambia Army Commander. The Zambia Army Commander is supposed to be the highest ranked serving officer, followed by the Zambia Air Force Commander. This creates a smooth command structure.

” Mr Hichilema should be correctly advised on how things are supposed to be done by the military, and should also have it explained to him how far the ZNS Commandant can go.

“Lt Gen Solochi is always telling his officers that he wants to bring ZNS to the same level, capacity, and standards as Zambia Army. Is this country going to have two armies?

“And the story told by Lt Gen Solochi about the attack on the Chongwe Bridge by the racist, white Rhodesian forces of Ian Smith is also untrue – he twisted the facts. I know this very well because at that time I was a military reservist under the ZNS. This can endanger national security and should be carefully watched.

” In the military, everything has a tradition, a history. Nothing happens just like that – there’s no chipante pante!

“Lt Gen Solochi should know that even the way service chiefs sit with the President has a tradition, a meaning, and a purpose. In the military, things don’t just happen anyhow,” said Dr M’membe.

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