SPEECH BY HON. MAJ GEN (RTD) CHARLES DNP NAMOLOH, MP, MINISTER OF DEFENCE OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA, AT THE GRADUATION PARADE OF THE 3RD SPECIAL PROJECT TRAINING INTAKE HELD AT OLUNO MILITARY BASE ONDANGWA ON 10 FEBRUARY 2012
I am delighted and honoured to officiate at the Graduation Parade of the 3RD Special Project Training Intake of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF).
Today we are marking another important milestone in the history of the Ministry of Defence and the NDF by witnessing the graduation of the 3RD Special Project Training Intake of the NDF.
I am happy and proud as Minister of Defence to refer to you today as graduates because you have successfully completed your Special Project Training that was designed to recruit Children of the Liberation Struggle, those from formerly marginalised groups as well as orphans into the rank and file of the NDF and transforming you from civilian to military life. I am sure today you feel good about yourselves and proud that you have indeed managed to become soldiers of Namibia. I am also happy that the aims and objectives of the training were successfully achieved, not only because of your determination but also because of the commitment of your instructors and the Military School to whom we assigned this important task.
I remember when I addressed you at the beginning of this training in September 2011 that I explained to you that what you were going to undergo was a demanding exercise. You were 978 at the beginning of the training, but only 954 of you are graduating today. This proves the toughness of the military training. I sincerely congratulate you. Well Done!
I am informed that 33 others were either withdrawn or disqualified from the training owing to different reasons ranging from resignation to criminal records. You must have learnt much from their plight as some of them were disqualified from the training because they want to enjoy alcohol and drugs, which is highly unacceptable in the NDF. I think those of you who are graduating today know by now very well that the NDF requires the highest standard of discipline from all of you and I hope you will continue to be disciplined soldiers from now on.
I hope those who resigned from the training have done so because they got better opportunities than this and not because of mere cowardice. We would not want to see a situation where they will start demanding jobs from the Government just after they have wasted this opportunity. We all know our country has a problem of high unemployment.
You would have seen that to become a soldier is not an easy way as some of those who could not walk the tough course had left the training. Some of them could not even wait to have their alcohol at least after training (I am not saying you should now go and indulge in alcohol).
The way ahead will not be easy either because as soldiers you will be assigned real-life missions to fulfil. You must be ready to fight a war if the need arises, especially to defend Namibia, its people and national interests wherever these become under any threats.
I am proudly handing you over today to the Chief of the Namibian Defence Force (CDF) for deployment and command. You must be ready to serve the Government of the Republic of Namibia under his command whenever your services are needed.
Apart from the need to continue upgrading your military skills and knowledge as soldiers in peacetime, you may be required to assist civil authorities to overcome emergencies and disasters such as floods and wildfires. You may also be called upon to assist the Namibian Police to maintain law and order in the country whenever the need arises.
Another important assignment that has been featuring prominently in the work of the NDF is the participation in Peace Support Operations (PSO) with the United Nations and the African Union. Therefore, you may find yourselves deployed outside Namibia in order to restore and maintain peace in other parts of the world, in either Africa or elsewhere. You must be prepared for this nature of assignments.
I am encouraging you to continue studying both academically and militarily as the opportunities present themselves to you and whenever the conditions of your assignments allow. We do not need soldiers who can operate armaments and military equipment only, but we need soldiers who are also well trained academically so that you are capable of inventing new technologies and approaches for the NDF and the country.
I am also informed that two members were removed from training because of a criminal record. I want to caution those of you who are graduating today that you should desist from any criminal behaviour because if you commit crime you will be subjected to court martial as soldiers. Military law is usually harsher than civilian law; hence, the need for you to uphold the name of the NDF high and respect yourselves and your fellow soldiers by following and obeying lawful orders of your commanders at all levels.
Allow me to express my profound gratitude to the Commandant Military School and his staff as well as the instructors who have made this training a success that we are all celebrating today. The Ministry of Defence is proud of your work!
We are now building a military academy to improve military training and education of our staff. We must continue to set high standards of training and education for the men and women in the uniform of the NDF. The military academy will further provide us the opportunity to learn from other militaries all over the world in order to keep abreast with the management of the military and technological advancements that are relevant to our services.
In the same vein, I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Traditional, Local Authorities and hospitals for rendering cordial support and cooperation to the Military School during the Training. This shows that we all have the common goal of maintaining peace and stability in Namibia at heart.
With these few words, it is now my honour to hand over the graduates to the CDF for deployment and command and I wish all of you success in all your future missions.
I THANK YOU.