President Edgar Lungu has commended the Zambia defence force for maintaining peace and security in the country. President Lungu, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the defence force, said he was impressed with the manner in which the military officers have continued to perform their duties when sent on peacekeeping missions aboard.
“My government appreciates the role the Zambia defence force plays in maintaining peace and security in our beloved country. I am equally impressed that our officers have continued to perform exemplary when sent on peace keeping missions abroad,” he said.
The Head of State said this today in Livingstone when he officiated at the commissioning and wings parade for officer cadets’ course 45 and 46. President Lungu stated that the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) has been repositioned into a more combat effective force, capable of carrying out the constitutional mandate of safeguarding the Zambian air space against all enemy air threats.
At the same event, President Lungu revealed that the Zambia Air Force has increased accident-free flying hours from 2,000 to over 10,000 within the shortest period of time.
And President Lungu said the government has actualised the defence force modernisation programme through the acquisition of military hardware and equipment, adding that some of the equipment has been placed on the inventory of the Zambia Air Force.
He said he was delighted that the defence force is well equipped as demonstrated during the commemoration of the defence force day on June 13, 2021.
However, President Lungu said much more needs to be done, adding that government will continue to improve the inventory holding of the defence force so as to enable it to carry out its constitutional mandate effectively.
Meanwhile, President Lungu has disclosed that government is in the process of revamping bulk fuel installations across the country in a bid to reduce transportation costs and improve air operations.
“To improve air operations in the Zambia Air Force, my government is revamping bulk fuel installations across the country to reduce transportation costs whenever there is an operation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the President said government has over the years improved the working environment of the men and women in uniform through infrastructure development.
He pointed out that challenges of lack of space and recreational amenities have been addressed.
“It is an understatement to state that my government has improved the working environment of the men in uniform through infrastructure development. Challenges faced such as lack of office space, and recreational amenities have been addressed,” President stated.
He told the graduating officers that government places a high premium on accommodation for military officers.
President Lungu said government’s resolve to improve accommodation challenges for men in uniform can be seen in the housing units constructed in various bases across the country.
He said all this has been achieved through the prudent utilisation of government resources.
“That is why housing units have been constructed in various bases. All this is being done through the prudent use of government resources and the phased approach dubbed the ‘water drop theory’,” he said.
In a related development, President Lungu has authorised the handover of the old Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe airport and all associated infrastructure in Ndola to the Zambia Air Force.
He also announced that the new base will be called the Peter Zuze Air Force base named after the first indigenous air Commander Lieutenant General Peter Zuze.
The Head of State further hoped the development will help in extending the operational reach of the air force within and beyond the boundaries.
President Lungu has also authorised the conversion of the Zambia Air Force Samora Machel base airport to be used by civil aircraft.
He said the move is aimed at promoting tourism investment and the overall economic growth in the northern sector.
He further expressed optimism that the development will open up the Northern Province for more economic development.