VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
THE Zambia Air Force (ZAF) has unanimously resolved to employ female fighter pilots to enhance gender equality in the military wing.
The countryâ€™s air force has never had any female fighter pilot since independence 50 years ago, a situation described as improper.
ZAF Commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese said at the closing ceremony of the air forceâ€™s board meeting in Lusaka yesterday that one of the recommendations the organisation has submitted to government is that of having female fighter pilots.
â€œUp to now ZAF does not have female fighter pilots and when you look at issues going on, gender balancing in the contemporary world today and in our country is cardinal.Â We constantly talk about ensuring that female partners be considered just as anybody else which we would like to uphold,â€ Gen Chimese said.
Other issues discussed included the retirement age which Government has proposed that it be revised upwards.Â ZAF will make its submissions on the matter.
Government recently tabled the proposal that retirement be 55 years for early retirement, 60 years for normal retirement and 65 years for late retirement.
Gen. Chimese said ZAF has also resolved to propose to government that the organisation establishes a presence in areas like the North-Western Province.
â€œIf we need to grow physically in terms of structure, probably the gathering should come up with ways of getting our influence or presence felt more in all our 10 provinces. Therefore this meeting was very necessary,â€ he said.
Gen. Chimese said leadership demands that members of staff be part of the solutions.
â€œYou should be solution oriented and not be part of the problem. You are senior leaders of the air force, the subordinates out there in uniforms are looking up to you and me to offer solutions,â€ Lt Gen. Chimese said.
He said the resolutions by board members are aimed at providing solutions to the many challenges that the men and women in uniforms are facing.
Lt Gen. Chimese said there is need to implement the solutions from the meeting and called on all members of staff to ensure the suggested solutions are implemented.
â€œIt is your responsibility as part of the air force leadership to ensure that the resolutions are implemented accordingly,â€ he said.
He said some of the challenges ZAF is facing are a â€œstate of mind than the lack of solutionsâ€ and that they are a result of attitude towards work and therefore self-induced.
â€œI would urge all of us to ensure that we change our mind set, there has to be a paradigm shift in the way we do things. We need to think outside the box to see all the policy adjustments recommended for implementation,â€ Lt Gen. Chimese said.
VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka