New Era Begins: Air Marshal John Jacob Nzvede takes charge of Air Force of Zimbabwe

Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Philip Valerio Sibanda (right) looks on as Air Marshal John Jacob Nzvede (left) shakes hands with Air Marshal Elson Moyo (second from right) during a handover and takeover ceremony in Harare.

New Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Marshal John Jacob Nzvede yesterday officially took over command and control from Air Marshal Elson Moyo who has retired, pledging his commitment to ensuring the force continues to play its part in creating a peaceful environment conducive to the attainment on national development goals.

The takeover of command followed conferment at Defence Headquarters of new insignia of rank to air marshal following his promotion from air vice marshal by President Mnangagwa which was effective yesterday.

The President made the promotion in terms of the Defence Act as read with Statutory Instrument 257 of 2020, which allow the President to make promotions on the advice of the Minister of Defence, acting on the recommendations of the Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Witnessing the handover of command at Manyame Air Force Base, Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Philip Sibanda said: “The change of command in the Defence Forces is in line with the concept of shared responsibility in attaining military tasks. After he took over the office in 2017, Air Marshal Moyo pursued the vision and goals set by his predecessors to make the Air Force of Zimbabwe a formidable force, that it is today, within and outside the borders of Zimbabwe.

“The Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces has placed trust in you, Air Vice Marshal Nzvede, to deal with all these issues and lead the process to modernise the Air Force of Zimbabwe. With all the experience accrued in the Air Force of Zimbabwe and in working with the outgoing Commander, I am confident that there will be continuity and growth during your tenure as the Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe.”

General Sibanda said sanctions imposed on the country by the West during the turn of the millennium continue to derail the ZDF development agenda.

Speaking about the work of retiring Air Marshal Moyo he said: “The challenge that he faced as the newly appointed Commander Air Force of Zimbabwe was the restricted operating environment because of the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some Western countries. This challenge continues to bedevil the nation and by extension, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.”

It was pleasing that Air Marshal Moyo took heed of the guidance from President Mnangagwa, that the nation would not mourn over the sanctions but instead find solutions to pursue its development objectives.

To this end, Air Marshal Moyo spearheaded a research and development programme that led to the recovery of several air assets and equipment in the AFZ.

Accepting command, Air Marshal Nzvede said it was an honour to be accorded an opportunity to command AFZ.

“I owe this rare honour to His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa for the recognition, confidence and trust he has shown in my personality. I undertake to reciprocate this humbling gesture by diligently leading the Air Force of Zimbabwe to the best of my ability and strength,” he said.

He was up to the task and fully appreciated the enormous responsibilities and challenges that come with an appointment of this magnitude.

Handing over command. Air Marshal Moyo said it was a privilege for him to live the long-time dream and serve the country in the capacity of Commander AFZ.

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