The National Defence Policy of the Republic of Zimbabwe derives its legitimacy from the national Constitution of the country. This encapsulates the national purpose, values, national interests and priorities from which policies and programmes are then worked out, eventually leading to the enunciation of the National Security Strategy.

The constitutionally defined roles of the defence forces are:

· To defend Zimbabwe’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests.

· To participate in the creation of common regional security architecture.

· To contribute to the maintenance of international peace and stability.

· To provide military assistance to civil authority in times of need.

The Zimbabwean military, like that of any democratic country, is one of the elements identifying national values and security interests and as such, must complement, and not conflict with political, economic, social, demographic and informational elements of national power.


ZIMBABWE’S policy formulation structures are similar to those of any other democracy, that is the security and defence policies of any state are rooted in perceptions of its interests and how best they may be protected and promoted. The supreme national policy formulating body is the National Security Council, responsible for pronouncing the National Security Policy. It is chaired by the President, and is basically composed of the entire Cabinet

Specific to Defence Policy formulation, below the National Security Council, is the Defence Council, which is chaired by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs, State Security, Defence, Home Affairs and Finance constitute the Council. The Service Chiefs and Director General in the President’s Department are ex-officio members. Its primary function is to generate and pronounce National Defence Policy.

Below the Defence Council is the Defence Committee, chaired by the Minister of Defence. It is composed of the Permanent Secretary for Defence, Commander Defence Forces, Commander Zimbabwe National Army and Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe. The Committee can also incorporate representatives of other Security Ministries.

There are six Defence Staff Sub­ committees below the Defence Committee. These deal with Defence Policy, Operations, Programming and Planning, Manpower, Logistics, Acquisition and Equipment Approval. Policy recommendations and implementation reports flow upwards from the Defence Staff Sub­ committees, while policy directives flow downwards from the National Defence Council.


The formulation of a state’s defence and security policies depend on its geo-strategic situation and the nature of the state itself especially its political and economic structures. It is also biased on the nature and spread of the state’s interests and the current and potential challenges it perceives to those interests. The nature of defence is the military contribution to national security and is a major element of a government’s wider security policy. Defence policy specifies the structure and capabilities of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and guides the contribution they make to the achievement of the country’s defence and security goals.

Geographically, Zimbabwe’s Defence Policy is cast in a concentric circles paradigm. In the central circle lies Zimbabwe itself. Its immediate neighbours, namely Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa occupy the second circle. In the third circle is the thirteen other member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The rest of the countries in the African Union (AU) occupies the fourth circle. Finally, the rest of the world occupies the last circle.

This geographical delineation however, is not always mutually exclusive. It sometimes becomes blurred depending on the intensity and nature of relations that Zimbabwe may maintain with its cooperating partners from other parts of the world, including some outside Africa

Domestically, the Policy constitutes an integral part of the political superstructure. It rests upon the socio-economic foundations of the society that it is meant to safeguard, the structures and institutions of the society, which are interwoven in a network of systems and sub-systems of social, cultural, economic, political, judicial, scientific, technological and military strategic relationships