1 July 2005

Zimbabwe: 'Purchase of Jets From China Wise'

Harare — ZIMBABWE bought six K-8 jet trainer aircraft from China for use by the Air Force of Zimbabwe because it could not secure spare parts for the British Hawk trainer jets that have been used for training since independence, Defence Minister Cde Sydney Sekeramayi has said.

The minister told Parliament on Wednesday that owing to the sanctions imposed against the country by the west, the British refused to supply spare parts of the hawks with the intention that they would be grounded. He was responding to a question by Hwange East Member of Parliament Mr Thembinkosi Sibindi (MDC) who wanted to know why the Government had purchased the K-8 jet trainer aircraft from China.

Cde Sekeremayi said following the refusal by the British to supply the spare parts for the hawk trainer aircraft, Government had to devise other means to resolve the situation.

"It will be foolhardy for any government to sit down saying we can't do anything and we decided to buy the aircraft from China," he said.

He said the ministry was also in the process of constructing houses for members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to ensure that all members had suitable accommodation. He was responding to another question by Mutare North MP Mr Giles Mutsekwa (MDC) who wanted to know why the ZDF was involved in the massive reconstruction exercise following Operation Restore Order while some of its members had no decent accommodation.

Cde Sekeramayi said the ministry had purchased buses from China for the defence forces to have reliable transport to and from work.

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