Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The Air Force of Zimbabwe has devised innovative measures to continue flying, despite illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the United States and Western countries, an official has said.
AFZ Commander Air Marshal Elson Moyo said the organisation embarked on training and research, something that has helped it to continue being a force to reckon with in the wake of economic sanctions.
He said this in an interview with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation yesterday ahead of the Defence Forces Day to be commemorated next week.
“Our main driving factor is research and development, remember we are under sanctions, we cannot just sit and fold our arms and say because we are under sanctions we are not going to fly anymore,” said Air Marshal Moyo.
“We think this country is capable, we should be able to come up with innovations to ensure that we remain airborne and I am sure this is the direction we are taking. We are beginning to see results as will be demonstrated sometime during the course of the (ZDF) celebrations.”
Air Marshal Moyo said to ensure that AFZ remained highly-competent, it partnered local tertiary institutions so that they could offer degree programmes that were relevant to the organisation.
“The thrust which we have adopted is that we have partnered a number of universities to ensure that they include some of the disciplines that are relevant to our organisation,” he said.
“We want them to attain skills. So, yes we think that we are driving the AFZ in the direction which our men and women attain skills that are going to be useful.”
Air Marshal Moyo bemoaned the fewer number of women cadres among their rank and file, saying they had taken a deliberate effort to raise the number to ensure gender parity.
“The vision of the Government is that we must be able to achieve 30 percent representation in the AFZ in 2030,” he said.
“Currently, the figures are not encouraging because previously AFZ was a preserve of men.”
Turning to security, Air Marshal Moyo said his organisation was vigilant on both traditional and non-traditional security threats.
“The threat to national security is no longer just centred on military action, there are many non-traditional threats which are coming into play and as AFZ we need to be prepared for both conventional and non-conventional threats,” he said.
“Many of us are now aware that issues of human security now play a major part in the country and the contemporary world. We are geared to play our part regarding that.
“There are traditional threats which have a new face, threat of terrorism, cyber warfare, subversion and abuse of social media, we believe it is our role as AFZ to ensure we train our people to be able to deal with these issues which are non-traditional threats to the security of the country.”
Air Marshal Moyo said to realise Vision 2030 of achieving an upper middle income status, there was need for peace and stability in the country, for which the AFZ had a major role to play.