AFZ to ensure peace prevails
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.