Senior Air Force of Zimbabwe officer Wing Commander Tongayi Brian Muchenje died yesterday when the car he was driving rammed into a tree along Joshua Nkomo Road (Airport Road) in Harare.Wing Comm Muchenje (44) died on the spot in the accident that happened around 4am, AFZ Headquarters said in a statement.
The military officer was assigned to Zimbabwe Defence Forces Headquarters as Staff Officer One (Foreign Services).
AFZ Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri said: "It was indeed shocking and quite disheartening to learn that such a hardworking, loyal and experienced officer could be taken away from our midst when his services were still critically required in the AFZ and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces as a whole."
Wing Comm Muchenje was attested into the AFZ on November 6, 1989 as an officer cadet and rose through the ranks in subsequent years.
He completed various programmes - among them the Officer Cadet (1989), Basic Flying (1991), Flying Instructors (2003), Aircrew Survival Training and Helicopter Instructors (2004) and Joint Command and Staff (2008) courses - during his military career.
Wing Comm Muchenje was hailed for his commitment and dedication to the country.
"When other experienced combat pilots were leaving the AFZ, Wing Commander Muchenje remained steadfast and dedicated to serving the nation," read part of the AFZ statement.
Wing Commander Muchenje held several appointments among them Base Intelligence Officer at Manyame Airbase in 2000, Staff Officer 2 Air Intelligence in 2002 at AFZ Heaquarters, Acting Officer Commanding Flying Wing at Manyame Airbase in 2009, and Staff Officer One (Foreign Services) at ZDF Headquarters, the post he held until his death.
In recognition of his exemplary service, he was awarded the Independence, 10 Years' Service, Mozambique Campaign, DRC Campaign and the Long and Exemplary Service medals.
Mourners are gathered at Manyame Airbase. Burial arrangements will be announced in due course.