By Online Desk |  10 months ago | top
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has mourned the death of decorated Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) general air officer and pilot, Air Commodore Pio Pasipamire Maketo who died in on Saturday describing him as an exceptional trainer and dedicated cadre of the Zimbabwe Defence Force. Air Commodore Maketo, who was Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo Base Commander, died after he was involved in a road accident along the Harare-Bulawayo highway, 10km from Chegutu town. He was 55.
He will be buried today at Gweru Provincial Heroes Acre. President Mnangagwa said Air Commodore Maketo left a gap difficult to fill. “The demise in a fatal traffic accident last Saturday of Air Commodore Pio Pasipamire Maketo has robbed our Airforce of Zimbabwe (AFZ) of an exceptional trainer and dedicated cadre of our Defence Force,” he said. “Cut at the prime of his career, Air Commodore Maketo leaves behind a meritorious career which include several peace-making missions in our Region, and countless airmen and women he trained 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 Airforce 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, to the Air Force of Zimbabwe in order to transform that key arm of our Defence Force so it reflected the new, multiracial post- independence ethos of a free Zimbabwe,” he said. Air Commodore Maketo was born on January 12, 1968 in Tsaka, Chirumanzu before doing his primary education at Nyamhunga in Gokwe and Batanai in Mabvuku and secondary education at Dzivarasekwa High school in Harare. The young and energetic Maketo was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army on 01 September 1986 and later transferred to the AFZ on 01 may 1988 as an officer cadet in number 53 pilot training course at the school of flying training in then Thornhill Air Force Base (now Josiah Tungamirai Air Force Base) in Gweru. The air officer excelled in his studies at the 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. He 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 the following military courses; 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 Mabodza and four children.