AFZ to en­sure peace pre­vails

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Praise Bvum­bam­era Harare Bureau

THE Air Force of Zimbabwe will con­tinue safe­guard­ing Zimbabwe’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity by main­tain­ing peace to en­sure eco­nomic growth in the coun­try, AFZ Com­man­der Air Mar­shal Per­rance Shiri has said.

He said a peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment at­tracted in­vest­ment while pro­mot­ing na­tional de­vel­op­ment.

Speak­ing ahead of the Zimbabwe De­fence Forces Day com­mem­o­ra­tions, Air Mar­shal Shiri said de­fend­ing Zimbabwe’s air space and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity was their ma­jor pre­oc­cu­pa­tion at the AFZ.

“Our coun­try has con­tin­ued to at­tract both lo­cal and for­eign in­vestors ow­ing to the peace and sta­bil­ity that we have man­aged to main­tain,” he said.

He com­mended the AFZ for ex­celling in var­i­ous oper­a­tions, among them: peace, sup­port oper­a­tions and hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance for the less priv­i­leged.

“For sure the Air Force of Zimbabwe is 36 years old and it has gone through a lot of ex­pe­ri­ences over those years.

“You find that dur­ing the 1980s im­me­di­ately af­ter at­tain­ing our In­de­pen­dence, the Air Force to­gether with the Zimbabwe Na­tional Army, (the two con­sti­tute the Zimbabwe de­fence forces), were called upon to go and pro­tect our pipe­line, which passes through Mozam­bique, and in the process we ended up as­sist­ing the Mozam­bi­can armed forces in their fight against the rebel Re­n­amo move­ment.”

He said the AFZ was in Mozam­bique from 1982 to 1992, and their mis­sion was a huge suc­cess.

“Later on in 1998, we were de­ployed in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo up to 2002, where we were part of a Sadc force to pro­tect the le­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment of the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, which was un­der threat and that was all in pur­suance of the main­te­nance of peace and or­der in the re­gion.

“We have also un­der­taken peace sup­port oper­a­tions in An­gola, Rwanda, Su­dan, South­ern Su­dan and Ivory Coast.”

Air Mar­shal Shiri said train­ing was the bedrock of the Air Force of Zimbabwe.

“It helps to sys­tem­a­tise and syn­chro­nise pro­ce­dures and ap­proaches within the or­gan­i­sa­tion,” he said.

The Air Force of Zimbabwe com­man­der said they sent mem­bers to friendly coun­tries on ex­change pro­grammes. These coun­tries in­clude China, Pak­istan, Malaysia and some re­gional coun­tries.

Air Mar­shal Shiri said the in­sti­tu­tion also pro­moted gen­der equal­ity.

This, he said, had seen a num­ber of fe­male pi­lots and en­gi­neers in the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Of note, was the re­cent promotion of then Group Cap­tain Ellen Chi­weshe to Air Com­modore, a very se­nior rank in the air force.

Air Mar­shal Shiri said their vi­sion as the Air Force of Zimbabwe was to have a well-equipped, highly trained, ro­bust and hard-heat­ing air force main­tain­ing high level stan­dards.

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