Graduation or pass out of Military officers who have finished training have been put on hold due to president Michael Sata’s inability to commission officers.
By law, only the commander-in-chief, who is the president of Zambia can commission officers at their graduation, or pass out as the event is commonly known as. Regular soldiers can be admitted into the military by anyone including a deputy minister and that is why they are called non-commissioned officers.
But government sources have revealed that due to his poor health, Sata has been unable to commission the officers forcing the command to extend trainings.
Just last weekend, May 3, 2014, Sata was supposed to commission officers in Livingstone but the parade was called off after State House communicated that Sata would not attend. Soldiers were told that the ceremony would take place anytime but most likely this weekend, but they were not told that would depend on Sata feeling better. The problem is that cadets from the army, ZAF and National Service have all finished training and are just waiting for Sata.
At the same Livingstone event, Sata was supposed to declare April 28th as ‘Kenneth Kaunda day’ and possibly a national holiday to honour former dictator Kaunda. The event was supposed to take place two days after Sata made a brief appearance at Labour Day celebrations but only to play with Kaunda’s bald head. Sata has not been seen in public since.
The Zambia army for example completed training officers in March and Military Training Establishment of Zambia based at Kohima barracks in Kabwe wrote to commander Sata in March to choose date for pass-out as per etiquette.
‘Usually past commanders in chief have responded within a month to enable the academy to prepare for the event, the academy’s projection was that the passout would have taken place any date in April but commander has not yet responded and no date has been given,’ the Watchdog has been told.
The watchdog has been further told that training officers is very costly as instructors are paid additional funds, each cadet is paid an allowance whilst on training (Attestation), their diet is specific and the academy is now running short of funds.
The Watchdog is also informed that the cadets have also been very anxious and as speculations about commander’s health mount, they have blind folded them by sending them into some bush for extended training but this tactic is just to give commander time to respond.
The Watchdog understands that the academy has exhausted its budget and commandant is concerned but it is being kept as top secret as usual.
Sata may manage to commission some officers today or tomorrow but other officers who finished training in april or before will still be waiting.