Monday, June 27, 2011

Zimbabwe Air Marshal Shiri Concerned With Situation in North Africa and the Middle East

Shiri concerned with situation in Arab world

Monday, 27 June 2011 01:00
Herald reporter

THE situation in the Middle East and North African countries is a major setback to development and peace on the continent and worldwide, Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Marshal Perrance Shiri said yesterday.

In his speech at the Airforce of Zimbabwe Commander's shooting competition at Cleveland Rifle Range in Harare yesterday, Air Marshal Shiri, said the situation in the continent taught Zimbabwe the importance of protecting the country from foreign aggression.

"Destabilising events in the Middle East and North Africa are a setback to prosperity and tranquility in the world and the continent at large.

"But this inspires us as devoted Zimbabweans the importance of protecting one's country from foreign invasion.

"For peace to prevail in the country, we have to fight for it and the bullet shall be the last line in defence of our hard won peace. The peace currently prevailing in the country is a credit to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces although foreign detractors do not want to acknowledge that.

"With that peace, we are now witnessing investors from the world over seeking investment opportunities in our country and as part of the nation's defence forces, we should take pride in that," Air Marshal Shiri said.

He expressed optimism in the forthcoming election, adding the environment would be peaceful.

"It is the Airforce's hope that the coming elections will be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.

"As Zimbabweans, we are all advised to maintain the high discipline and hoist the Zimbabwean flag through remaining vigilant as the enemy continues to devise new strategies to champion illegal regime change.

"The current atmosphere has realised an improvement in the life of a soldier although we continuously endeavour for welfare improvement.

"We shall remain committed to improve the welfare of a soldier during and after service despite the illegal sanctions imposed on the country," he said.

He lashed out at rogue elements that tended to abuse the experience they gained in the armed forces to commit crime.

"The marksman skills and shooting prowess displayed by participants will be used in productive and not counter productive manner.

"It would be disheartening to find our marksman being involved in criminal activities such as robberies or poaching as this would damage the image of the security forces," Air Marshal Shiri said.

He lauded the professionalism in the defence forces that had honoured them with invitations to peacekeeping operations across the globe.

The six-day event attracted shooting enthusiasts from the security forces, war veterans, private security companies, private shooting clubs and civilians.

Prices handed over in cash were worth more than US$10 110 of which the first male winner, Retired Staff Sergeant S Chokoto, walked away with US$190, a gold medal, a shield, a trophy and hotel accommodation.

The female winner, Sergeant Mildred Kurebwaseka from Air Force Headquarters, also walked away with US$190, a silver medal and a trophy.

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