Saturday, January 12, 2008

Govt to revive Mupepetwe Military Factory

Govt to revive Mupepetwe Military Factory
By Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday January 12, 2008 [03:00]

Defence minister George Mpombo said yesterday that a survival plan has been put in place in this year’s budget to revamp production at Mupepetwe Military Factory. And Mozambique has expressed interest to have its officers trained at the Zambia Defence Staff College in line with the objectives of the recently-formed SADC Brigade.

Mpombo said Mupepetwe Military Factory in Serenje was a strategic military facility that could be used to generate sufficient funds for the army. Mupepetwe Military Factory produces bullets apart from other domestic metal appliances such as hammer mills.

Mpombo said the factory was set-up in the 1980s to support operations of the defence forces.

Contributing to a report tabled before the last sitting of the House, some members of parliament accused the government of not using Mupepetwe Military Factory to enhance the country’s economy. Zambezi West UPND member of parliament Charles Kakoma said the bullets manufactured at the facility could be exported.

“Even before the MPs came up with that report, I visited Mupepetwe and I can inform you that we have included a survival plan for Mupepetwe in the budget,” Mpombo said. “Another measure is that we have directed government institutions to buy from Mupepetwe, things that are produced there.”

Mpombo said further that his ministry would soon institute stringent measures to curb the use of military fatigue by criminal elements. “The law is still there and the law acts promptly,” he said. “If we allow the careless use of military fatigue, we are going to promote crime. We want the public to respect military uniforms.”
He said he was constantly receiving reports from members of the public about people using military garb when staging criminal activities.

When reminded that replicas of military attire were being sold openly in shops and markets, Mpombo replied: “I have taken serious note of that and we shall move.” And Mpombo said Zambia was becoming the most preferred training destination for military personnel in the SADC region.

“Mozambique wants to send its military personnel to Zambia on reciprocal basis,” he said.

He also disclosed that there were currently about 500 Zambian defence personnel involved in peace-keeping missions abroad, especially in Sudan’s Darfur region and Eritrea.
“Their performance has been very impressive,” said Mpombo.

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