A large number of public members joined the military fraternity to savour the day that brought memories of 1990. The Namibian Army celebrated its 19th in existence at Grootfontein Military Base-Sport Ground. The day usually celebrated on 03rd September 2009.
The military parade consisted of four companies and a brass band formed up to honour the special day and showcased what they are made of. The atmosphere, dressing as well as military vehicle display was enough of an evident of what took place on 21st March 1990 when the nation witnessed political ideology transformation and more specially the integration of the two former enemies, People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the South West Africa People Organization (SWAPO) military wing and the Ex-South West Africa Territory Force.
Through the policy of national reconciliation, they interacted to form a complete success and operational-ready army.
Hon Victor Simunja, Deputy Minister of Defence was the Guest of Honour at the event. He said the integration of the two enemies did not come on a silver plate. “There were some misunderstandings especially for the two sides the ex-PLAN fighters and the ex-SWATF, but, despite those misunderstandings, our integration was a success story and I strongly belief it has influenced the conduct of the general public.”
Hon Simunja empasised that the time came for the old soldiers to retire, therefore, they have to impart knowledge and skills and clear guidelines into young soldiers. He said, “To the young soldiers I would like to remind you that you should cultivate and maintain the spirit of patriotism, loyalty, discipline, bravely and commitment to you country. This is the values that have sustained us during the liberation of our motherland.”
Deputy Minister thus, comment the contribution made by the army by protecting the nation as well as to the international peace and stability. He said the achievement of Vision 2030 will only be achieved in a peace and secure environment. “You as soldiers are the guarantors of this environment. You should therefore be proud of this nobel duty entrusted to you by the Namibian people.”
He reiterated that soldiers should not practice negative behaviour such as tribalism, sexism, xenophobia, regionalism and other criminal activities. “Those who involve in such activities are tarnishing the good image of the military profession.”
On the same breath, Brig Gen Tomas Hamunyela, Acting Army Commander highlighted some notable achievement to name of the Namibian army, saying, the army has been able to assist other law enforcements and civil authorities in combating human and natural calamities.
“Locally, the army is cooperation with other security forces have successfully maintained peace, tranquility and stable environment for social and economic development by rendering assistance to the Civil Authorities and communities during the recurrent floods, distribution of drought relief, veldt fires, national immunizations, elections, railways construction and in many other areas,” he said.
He also mentioned how the force robustly disperse Caprivi Secessionists attempt to dismember the Caprivi Region from the rest of the country and UNITA banditry activities in Kavango Region. “Thanks to our gallant men and women that futile attempt was forcefully repelled and defeated and those with rebellious and sinister political motives are now facing the full wrath of the Law,” said the Acting Army Commander.
He also explained the involvement of the army in support of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that influenced peace in the former Zaire, adding that “Along side other Southern Africa Development Community allied forces the Namibian Force assisted DRC to retain its sovereignty against the invading rebel forces of Rwanda and Uganda.”
At length, Brig Gen Hamunyela said he was happy and proud to recount that Namibia and in particular the army has gained international recognition in Peace Support Operation (PSO) at both United Nation (NU) and African Unity (AU), stressing that the demand for participating in Peace Mission continued with momentum as they were preparing for yet another (PSO) to Chad.
He however stated that besides being combat-ready, the army faced enormous problems and challenges that needed to be tackled head-on. “The challenge to fight HIV/AIDS pandemic and many other problems such as proper accommodation facilities, human resources development which requires a collective and individual response approach in order to ensure that we are an effective force that is ready to withstand the battle field of the 21st Century,” Brig Gen empasised.