ZAMBIA Army Commander Sitali Dennis Alibuzwi has honoured multi-talented soldier Priscilla Katoba and 28 others for their enormous contribution to the military.
Lieutenant General Alibuzwi honoured and awarded Colonel Katoba along with 28 officers and soldiers, both serving and retired, for their outstanding contribution to the army.
Zambia Army director of public relations and foreign liaison Martin Liyungu said in a statement that the women have been honoured in recognition of their leadership, academic and professional achievements, and contributions to the army.
On the eve of International Women’s Day commemorations, Lt. Gen. Alibuzwi said the women’s contribution to the Zambia Army is enormous and that it is important to honour them for their exemplary service to the nation.
Lieutenant General Alibuzwi said previously, women were only involved in support roles, but that the Zambia Army command remains resolute in elevating women officers and soldiers into decision-making positions.
He said during the award-giving ceremony at Army headquarters in Lusaka on Friday that the command acknowledges the contributions of women in uniform to the army.
Lt Gen. Alibuzwi also reiterated the command’s consideration to start recruiting female special forces officers and soldiers as soon as the necessary infrastructure is put in place. Lt Gen. Alibuzwi stated that the army has female representation in all fields but not special forces, hence the idea to enlist the first female recruits in the core shortly.
He stated that plans are also underway to start promoting more women to platoon commander positions. During the award-giving ceremony dubbed ‘Recognising the Contribution of Women to the Zambia Army’, Lt Gen Alibuzwi also promoted one soldier, Felistus Mambwe from private to Lance Corporal.
“I am proud to say that today, all roles are open to women in the Zambia Army, except the Special Forces core, which is being considered.
“The command is proud of all women who have realised their potential while serving the nation and have demonstrated outstanding professionalism,” Lt Gen. Alibuzwi said.
Speaking at the same event, Col. Katoba, Deputy Director General of Sports, Commerce, and Community Services thanked the command for dedicating the day to women to celebrate themselves. Named the role model for lady officers of the Zambia Army, Col. Katoba said women in uniform should not only be celebrated with ‘lip service,’ but their accomplishments should also be recognised as the Zambia Army has done.
Dubbed the visionary, Col. Katoba was awarded for among other things, building her own brand. She owns a sports academy called Queens Royal Academy in Kabwe and Lusaka. Col. Katoba is credited for having led Green Buffaloes Women’s Football Club unbeaten in the local league during her tenure.
The only female representative on the Football Association of Zambia executive, Col. Katoba has written a book entitled “Be that woman men crave for” dedicated to young women.
Other award receptients who were singled out include Col. Ketty Chikwekwe for her consistent record of academic excellence. Col. Gertrude Mbewe, the director of Information and Communication Technology at Maina Soko medical centre was awarded for scoring firsts.
Defence attache to Namibia Brigadier-General Gladys Chifwelu was the other senior officer honoured. And Staff Sergeant Esther Kalumbi, Zambia Army’s only female telecommunications and electronics engineer thanked the command for making digital innovation a priority in the various military occupational specialties.
Meanwhile, Major Sarah Chokole (Rtd), one of the women honoured for exceptional service in the army, thanked the command for the recognition.
This year’s International Women’s Day is being celebrated under the theme “Digital Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. “