President Robert Mugabe has promoted Air Force of Zimbabwe group captain, Ellen Chiweshe, to the rank of Air Commodore.
Air Commodore Chiweshe becomes the first woman to hold such a high rank in the AFZ.
Conferring the rank yesterday, Air Force Commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri, said the AFZ was working towards ensuring gender parity and urged female officers to work hard to attain high ranks.
He said there was no rank limit for the female workers as this depended on hard work.
“The Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (President Mugabe) has seen it fit to promote Group Captain Chiweshe to Air Commodore.
“It’s the highest rank ever attained by a woman in the force,” said Air Marshal Shiri.
“The sky is the limit. There is nothing that can stop women from attaining high posts. What’s needed is loyalty, dedication, patriotism, professionalism and hard work, among other things.
“We’ve a female brigadier in the army. Now Air Commodore Chiweshe is the most senior woman in the Air Force of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Air Marshal Shiri said there had been concerted calls by government officials to ensure gender parity in all departments, the AFZ included.
“Women are hard workers and can perform as well as men. I’ve proved that they’re competent.
“We shall continue working together with women and encouraging them so we can achieve gender parity,” he said.
“Air Commodore Chiweshe was promoted not because of bias or favour but because of her competency.
“I’ve known her since the early 80s as a hard worker. She is one of the first lady officers to work in the finance department.
“There is no great honour she deserves than the recognition made by President Mugabe.
“I urge other female officers to work hard to attain high posts and even surpass the rank of Air Commodore,” he said.
Air Commodore Chiweshe said she felt honoured by President Mugabe to be conferred with the rank and attributed her success to the contributions of her superiors and subordinates who worked with her as a team.
“I encourage other female officers to be disciplined, work hard and be focused. I know the promotions to high ranks will not end with me but more will come after me,” she said.
“It was a man’s world and it was difficult to break in.
“I hope many female officers will be promoted to high ranks and surpass my rank.”