Midlands Bureau Chief
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday joined the Maketo family in mourning the death of Air Commodore Pio Pasipamire Maketo who died in a road accident on Saturday last week and was buried at Gweru Provincial Heroes Acre yesterday.
President Mnangagwa conferred Air Commodore Maketo (55) Liberation War Heroes status.
Air Commodore Maketo, who was Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo Base Commander, died in a road accident along the Harare-Bulawayo highway, 10km from Chegutu.
In a statement, President Mnangagwa said the country has been robbed of an exceptional trainer and dedicated cadre of the ZDF following the death of Air Commodore Maketo.
“The demise in a fatal traffic accident last Saturday of Air Commodore Pio Pasipamire Maketo has robbed our Air Force of Zimbabwe of an exceptional trainer and dedicated cadre of our Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” he said.
Cut at the prime of his career, President Mnangagwa said, Air Commodore Maketo leaves behind a meritorious career that include several peace-making missions in the region.
The President said the late air commodore trained countless airmen and women after qualifying as a flying instructor in the late 1980s.
“Amidst countless challenges placed in the way to frustrate our bid to Africanise the nascent Air Force of Zimbabwe soon after independence, and the subsequent integration of hitherto warring armies into a new National Army, cadres like late Air Commodore Maketo had to be redeployed from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), to the Air Force of Zimbabwe in order to transform that key arm of our Zimbabwe Defence Forces so it reflected the new, multiracial post- independence ethos of a free Zimbabwe,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said alongside his peers, Air Commodore Maketo hastened the realisation of this key cog in the broader vision of the ZDF.
He said before long, the late Air Commodore would be involved in the Mozambican Campaign meant to secure the country’s routes to the sea and to support Mozambique, then under attack from apartheid-sponsored bandits.
Later, President Mnangagwa said Air Commodore Maketo was involved in supporting operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
“Our Nation will forever remember him and his generation of airmen for their salutary contribution to our Nation and for building peace in our region. On behalf of our Nation, Government, ZDF, my family and my own behalf, I wish to express my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the Maketo family, his wife Grater, and the four children, who have lost a loving husband and caring father respectively. As they grieve over this their saddest loss, may they find solace in that our Nation comforts them, and will forever remember the sterling contributions of the late dear departed Air Commodore,” said President Mnangagwa.
Meanwhile, people of all walks of life thronged Gweru Provincial Heroes Acre to pay their last respects to the late Air Commodore.
Mourners present included the Commander AFZ Air Marshal Elson Moyo who was leading the AFZ team of Commanders and personnel, the Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo, Politburo member Engineer Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Larry Mavima who was represented by the director in his office Mr Kudakwashe Machako and members of the Maketo and Mabodza families.
Air Commodore Maketo’s brother Mr Emilio Maketo thanked President Mnangagwa and the Second Republic for conferring the Liberation War Heroes status to his brother.
“We are sad that my brother passed on in a road traffic accident but we are grateful to President Mnangagwa and the Second Republic for the honour they bestowed on him. We appreciate this gesture,” he said.
Air Commodore Maketo was born on January 12, 1968 in Chirumanzu.
He did his primary education at Nyamhunga in Gokwe and Batanai in Mabvuku.
He then went to Dzivaresekwa High in Harare.
The young and energetic Maketo was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army on September 1, 1986 and later transferred to the AFZ on May 1, 1988. He trained as a pilot at the then Thornhill Air Base (now Josiah Tungamirai Air Base) in Gweru.
Air Commodore Maketo excelled in his studies at the Pilot Training School in preparation for his flying training.
Thereafter, he was posted to 6 Squadron where he successfully completed the flying training course.
He was awarded his flying wing badge and commissioned to the rank of Air Sub Lieutenant in 1989.
Having graduated from 6 Squadron at Josiah Tungamirai Air Force base, he was posted to 3 Squadron at Manyame Air Force Base as a Squadron pilot.
Air Commodore Maketo converted on the DC-3 aircraft (Dakota) as a co-pilot which he flew at the peak of the Mozambique campaign.
During his illustrious career, he successfully completed various military courses such as Regular Officer Cadet course in 1988, Basic Flying Course in 1988, Junior Staff Course in 1995, Joint Command and Staff Course in 2006 and National Defence Course at Zimbabwe National Defence University in 2019.
He also held an Executive Diploma in Business Leadership from the Zimbabwe Institute of Management.
For his exploits, hard work and dedication, Air Commodore Maketo was decorated with the Independence medal, Ten Years’ Service medal, Mozambique Campaign medal, DRC Campaign medal and Long and Exemplary Service medal.
He is survived by his wife Grater and four children.
Article Source: The Chronicle