MONDAY, May 19, 2014 will remain in the Zambian defence books’ history as one of the most distressing days that robbed the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) of its Deputy Air Commander Major-General Muliokela Muliokela and co-pilot Col Brian Mweene.
They could have breathed their last in tear-jerking tragic circumstances when the trainer aircraft they were flying in crashed in Lusaka West.
But the deceased leave behind a legacy which the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Michel Sata describes as great patriotism and passion for the country including the defence force.
“As the Commander- in Chief of the armed forces, it is with sadness that I have learnt of the death Gen Muliokela and Col Brian Mweene whose untimely demise is a great loss not only to the defence forces but the country as a whole” the head of State had to say.
This untimely death of well qualified and seasoned pilots has even prompted the Vice President Guy Scott to call for a thorough investigation to ascertain what might have led to the dreadful demise of the two senior officers.
Fourth Republican president Rupiah Banda, was touched with the untimely death of the two senior ZAF officers especially Gen Muliokela who was his presidential pilot when he served as Zambia’s fourth president.
The former head of State has describes Gen Muliokela, as one of the country’s gallant generals.
This was made known through his letter to President Sata.
Mr Banda wishes the head of State God’s strength to bear the burden of death and look to the future with renewed hope.
Major-General Muliokela Muliokela
Aged 52, ZAF deputy air commander and chief of air staff died after an impact in an aircraft accident around Westwood area on Mumbwa Road.
Gen Muliokela was born on April 13,1962, in Sesheke Western Province.
He did his Primary School and Secondary School in that district .
He joined the Zambia Air Force as a general duties pilot on March 13, 1985.
He was commissioned into the regular air force on November 29, 1985.
He thereafter, under-went basic and advanced flying training on the SAAB MF1 15 Aircraft.
He later went to convert on the Y-12 and HS 748 aircraft.
He progressed to become an instructor on both aircraft.
He later converted on the MA 60 aircraft on which he became a captain and an instructor.
He flew other aircrafts such as the CESSNA 208, CESSNA 185, and CESSNA 172.
He was Captain and Qualified Flying Instructor on seven (07) types of aircraft.
He held several appointments in the ZAF including Commanding Officer No. 1 and No. 22 Squadrons.
He was later appointed senior air staff officer at Transport Command, shortly after he was elevated to deputy chief of operations at Air Headquarters.
He did several courses within and out-side the country in recognition of his proficiency.
Among the most notable were the senior command and staff course in the United States in 2002 and the Next Generation of African Military Leaders Course in 2009.
He had a distinguished flying career in the Zambia Air Force.
He was rated category ‘A’ endorsed for VVIP and VIP duties.
In October 2011, he was appointed as deputy air commander and chief of air staff and subsequently promoted to major general.
He had a passion for flying and dedicated his life to duty.
He served his beloved nation Zambia well and has contributed towards training many pilots in the Zambia Air Force.
He was honoured and awarded several medals amongst them were the Distinguished Flying Medal, Defence Force Proficiency Medal and Defence Operations Medal.
Major General Muliokela is survived by his wife Justina Nkhuwa Muliokela, children Maria, Michelle, David and Sasha and his mother Maria.
Colonel Brian Mweene
Aged 41, he was commanding officer number 15 Squadron and director strike operations. He died around 13:00 hours on Monday, May 19,2014 after an impact in an aircraft accident around Westwood area on Mumbwa Road.
Col Mweene was born on August 24, 1973 in Lusaka.
He did his primary education at Lusaka Boys and his Secondary education at Kabulonga Boys.
In 1995 he completed his flying training on the SAAB MFI – 15.
He went on to convert on the Macchi and FT6 aircraft.
He progressed to become an instructor in 2004. He later converted on the SF 260 TW (SIAI).
He was qualified flying instructor.
He was fighter pilot with exceptional abilities in the air for which he was categorised in the instructor rating of ‘A’ category.
He held several appointments in the Zambia Air Force including commanding officer 11 Squadron, commanding officer 21 Squadron, and senior operations officer, senior air staff officer at Strike Command and recently commanding officer 15 Squadron and director strike operations.
He did several courses within and outside the country.
He had a distinguished flying career in the Zambia Air Force for which he was honoured and awarded the following medals: distinguished flying medal, Africa Union Medal, United Nations Medal, and Commissioning Medal.
He had passion for flying and was dedicated to duty.
Col Mweene is survived by his wife Janet Phiri Mweene and his children namely David, Mukupa, Mutinta, and Brian Jnr.
The two senior officers were put to rest yesterday at Leopards Hill Memorial Park with full military honour.
May their gallant souls rest in peace.
Times of Zambia