AIR Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshall Perrance Shiri has commended Zimbabweans for maintaining peace before, during and after the just- ended harmonised elections. In an interview ahead of Zimbabwe Defence Forces Day commemorations next Tuesday, Air Marshal Shiri said the peace prevailing in the country was a result of a robust security force.
“I want to congratulate Zimbabweans for observing peace during the period leading to the elections and after the elections,” he said.
“Our business is maintenance of security and we feel excited when our people show signs of maturity. Imagine what the situation would be like if people had embarked on the alternative, that is violence. We have seen how a lot of countries have been affected by conflicts. We appreciate that our people understand that a single fire can start a breaking fire.”
Air Marshal Shiri said the peaceful environment should continue for the development of the country.
“We have demonstrated our ability to do that and it is my wish that we continue living in harmony, which is very important for co-existence and development of our country,” he said.
He said the availability of a highly skilled and motivated workforce has made it possible for the country to deal with security threats.
“In view of this truism, our mission is to develop the Airforce of Zimbabwe into a patriotic, loyal, highly professional, well trained and hard hitting force that will effectively and efficiently defend the airspace, territorial integrity and national interests of Zimbabwe,” Air Marshal Shiri said.
He said members of the unformed forces had endured hardships as a result of sanction-induced economic challenges.
“With improvements in the economy, we will place greater emphasis on the improvement of the workers conditions of service,” he said.
“To this end, we remain committed to improving the provision of accommodation and health services for all our officers and members.”
The aviation industry, Air Marshal Shiri said, was experiencing changes in technology hence the need for the AFZ to modernise its equipment.
“It is important to realise that while we might have highly skilled and motivated personnel, without the necessary equipment they would not be able to effectively perform their roles so that the people of Zimbabwe continue to enjoy peace and business flourishes,” he said.
The AFZ, he said, had made great strides towards redressing gender imbalances.
“In the past there were many trades such as flying, engineering, fire fighting and dog handling that were a preserve for men but we pursued an equal opportunities policy which has seen many women breaking new ground and defying tradition to join their male counterparts in these professions,” Air Marshal Shiri said.
“This year we witnessed the graduation of the first female parachute jumping instructors in the history of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. There have been other female parachutists but we had not seen female members graduating as parachute instructors.”
He urged female officers to embrace the opportunities presented saying while policies and legislation were there, they should also play their part.
He challenged youths to take up numerous career opportunities in the AFZ to carry forward the idea of defending the country’s sovereignty.
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