Editor's Comment

Zambia Air Force shows the way

ZAMBIA Air Force (ZAF) is surely looking outside the box as the institution seeks to re-align its operations and tackle the country’s socio-economic realities head-on.
ZAF commander Eric Chimese challenged his men and women in uniform as well as civilian staff to contribute to the well-being of the noble institution.
Institutions like ZAF are critical to the socio-economic development of our country. therefore, we uphold Lieutenant-General Chimese’s call for advice from his members of staff.
We are aware that the paramount role of ZAF is to enhance peace and security in the country by securing the country’s air space, going by its motto, “to defend and support.”
Lt Gen Chimese asked ZAF staff to contribute ideas aimed at making our air force even more effective at the official opening and closing of the institution’s board meeting at ZAF Chamba Valley mess in Lusaka last week.
Our understanding is that besides its core mission of securing the country’s air space, the air force is now looking outside the box so that it becomes more relevant in the 21st century.
The air force has a lot of potential to move our country forward. Some of the potential may not even be known, better still unimaginable to an ordinary person.
For instance, in the absence of a national airline, ZAF is serving the critical role of being the carrier of choice for Government ministries and departments.
It is facilitating faster travel by government authorities to execute their duties in the countryside.
It is this potential that should be further explored and realised once ZAF staff begin to share ideas with command through strategic meetings such as the one held last week.
We assume that is exactly what the air commander is saying. His call for a wide range of ideas is laudable.
As everyone knows, great achievements in the realm of human activity have come about as a result of ideas.
We also note with much pleasure how much ZAF appreciates dynamism. As an organisation, the air force is showing enviable steel determination in exploring means and ways of ameliorating its effective contribution to national development.
There have been laudable capital projects ZAF has undertaken under the leadership of Lt. Gen Chimese.
These include the mess at air headquarters and the state-of-the-art hospital being constructed at air headquarters which will not just cater for ZAF personnel but the general public as well.
This will complement Government’s efforts in delivering health care to its citizens.
Not long ago, the air force opened up its Mbala air base to civil aviation. What better words can there be for such robust initiatives than those of commendation and gratitude.
We say so because of the many benefits the opening up of the base will bring to our people. It will add significantly to our country’s socio-economic development.
Over the last four or so years, Government has been talking about the need to exploit the tourism potential of Northern, Muchinga and Luapula provinces in what it has dubbed the Northern Circuit.
The circuit is a potentially lucrative development project because these provinces are host to numerous tourist attractions such as the Kalambo Falls, Chishimba Falls, Ntumbachushi Falls, North Luangwa National Park, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Mweru. It seems the list is endless.
Until the opening up of the Mbala air base, that could not be said about the picturesque tourist attractions in the Northern region of the country.
While this is happening, we are saddened that some airports such as the one’s in Choma and Samfya have been closed to facilitate infrastructure development.
ZAF can actually do more than that. That is why we commend the air commander for inviting his staff to contribute to the well-being of the air force.
The air force is modernising its operations to move with the times, be more efficient and effective in carrying out its mission, and to do that will require a robust stream of ideas from ZAF staff to their high command.
While we are not against such developments, it closes efforts by ZAF to spread its influence to such areas.
We commend Lt Gen Chimese for not only opening up to new ideas from his staff but for running the affairs of ZAF in a transparent and inclusive manner.
All ZAF employees will own the process and management of the institution.

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