Sunday, December 23, 2007
By Sandra Mulowa
Sunday December 23, 2007 [03:00]
PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa has said that Zambia National Service (ZNS) once dedicated can be a reliable developmental force in achieving economic prosperity for the country. And ZNS commandant major general Raphael Chisheta said 2007 had been a challenging year for ZNS. And Zambia Air Force (ZAF) officer commanding transport command Brigadier General Patrick Tembo has urged officers to be faithful to their partners.
In a speech read for him by defence minister George Mpombo on Friday evening at the ZNS headquarters officers' annual ball held at Chamba Valley officer's mess, President Mwanawasa encouraged officers to reflect on the achievements and challenges so that they could evaluate how best to tackle similar assignments next year.
He said the government recognised ZNS' contributions in efforts to improve the economy and that he was delighted to hear plans of how ZNS intended to increased food production in its camps.
President Mwanawasa encouraged the ZNS commandant and officers to continue searching for new and efficient ways of undertaking assignments in order for them to realise their vision of becoming self-reliant.
"My government would like to see a thriving Zambia National Service that will, apart from equipping our disadvantaged youths with life skills, also help put food on the tables of our people," he said.
He commended ZNS for the various land development works that it had continued to perform.
President Mwanawasa said that it was important that the officers remained disciplined, vigilant and guard the country's peace jealously.
He said the government had taken note of how extremely well the officers had performed so far in both local and international operations, especially peace keeping.
And Maj Gen Chisheta said the installation of two centre pivots at ZNS airport farms had seen a sustained massive productions of wheat, soya beans and a marked improvement in maize production.
"However, I wish to report that generally, the yield of maize in the 2006/2007 farming season slightly went down due to a number of factors. The yield of wheat doubled the same period thereby compensating for the reduced maize yields," he said.
He said ZNS had embarked on an exercise of opening up new cropping land in some of its camps in an effort to increase the yields.
Maj Gen Chisheta said ZNS had plans of installing a centre pivot each at Munsakamba and Mumbwa for the purpose of growing crops all year round.
He said the two pivots were part of the four that government had procured for ZNS.
Maj Gen Chisheta hoped that the installation of the equipment would boost the production of wheat and soya beans so that ZNS meaningfully contribute to making the country self-sufficient in the two crops.
He also said that ZNS was this year training 478 youths of which 90 were responding very well to the training and that ZNS was encouraged by their enthusiasm to learn.
Maj Gen Chisheta also said that ZNS had formed support groups and were sensitising personnel on the dangers of HIV/AIDS.
And during ZAF annual ball held at their officers' mess in Lusaka's Chamba Valley area, Brig Gen Tembo cautioned the officers that HIV and AIDS was real.
He said officers should also encourage their partners to go for voluntary testing and counselling.
"These facilities are available everywhere. HIV/AIDS is real and it has claimed many lives," he said.
And Brig Gen Tembo warned that any steps to undermine the vision of the airforce command would not be entertained.
"I wish to stress this point that discipline is the cornerstone to any success and is therefore cardinal in the military institution such as ours," he said.
He said discipline should be exemplary.
Brig Gen Tembo also said that without government's support, it would not have been easy to accomplish most of the tasks assigned to ZAF.
He also said the command would continue to provide an enabling environment to improve the officers' welfare.
"The Air commander shares your concern on welfare and it is his wish to prioritise this area and is counting on the support of all of you."
And station commander Air Headquarters station Colonel Edward Makumba said 2007 had been a successful year.