Sanctions inspire AFZ Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshall Perrance Shiri

Herald Reporters
The economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West have inspired the Air Force of Zimbabwe to initiate a project to manufacture some aircraft spares and equipment locally. Speaking during a traditional interview ahead of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces on Tuesday, AFZ Air Vice Marshal John Nzvede, who was standing in for AFZ Commander Air Marshall Perrance Shiri said the uniformed forces had drawn ‘valuable’ lessons from the embargo.

“Sanctions restricted our access to spares and equipment. We lost our capabilities to perfume our defence roles,” he said.

“We initiated a Research and Development project to manufacture our own spares. We have learnt to effectively and efficiently manage the resources allocated through strict adherence to the Government initiated results-based management system. We have found ways to stretch the value of the resources allocated, which is the hallmark of an effective and efficient Air Force of Zimbabwe of the future.”

Air Vice Marshal Nzvede said the country’s environment should continue to be peaceful to make the attainment of Zim-Asset targets easier.

He said the successes of the AFZ were due to huge investment in training personnel.

“In addition to that, we have actively participated in Sadc regional training exercises focusing on the conduct of military operations and also disaster preparedness,” he said.

“I am proud to note that our local and regional training initiatives have significantly contributed to the peaceful environment in Zimbabwe and the region at large.”

The AFZ, Air Vice Marshal Nzvede said, had redressed the racial and gender imbalances and more women now hold senior positions in the force.

“The first batch was to break down the structural and psychological barriers,” he said.

“The structural barriers are those that limited the employment of women in selected areas such as flying, engineering, parachute jumping among others. We recruited women in those male dominated areas and today we boast of women excelling as fighter pilots, instructors and fire fighters.”

He said the AFZ would continue assisting communities through various projects using the Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe Charity Fund.

The fund has offered scholarships to secondary and university students.

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