Saturday 17 April 2021
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Duped into becoming soldiers


….NDF mute on allegations
Several members of the     Namibian Defense Force are up in arms claiming they were misled into joining the force after they were posted into positions they did not apply for.

Last year, the army advertised posts for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialists. Some of those who applied have since been recruited as soldiers instead of GIS specialists, while others have since tendered their resignations while the remainder soldier on.

One of the GIS specialists who were employed as soldiers, Lionel Hamutenya, said he decided to quit the force after learning that the position he applied for was occupied.
“I left because I cannot be at a place wasting my time doing something I did not apply for,” Hamutenya lamented. “I could not keep up, therefore, I left,” he said bluntly.
“Some of us are just working here because we are still looking for other work. I cannot leave my job and sit at home,” said one of the complainants, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation.

The ministry’s PRO Colonel Monica Sheya did not comment when contacted on Tuesday. “Please forward your queries to the public relations department,” said Sheya, but questions forwarded to the department are yet to yield a response.
The recruits further allege that the positions they initially applied for had already been occupied without them being informed thus compelling them to be employed as soldiers.

“We were assured that after the training we will be appointed as GIS specialists, but even after that, we were not redeployed to the positions we applied for. We were told that those positions were occupied while we were in training,” said the source.
“We approached the HR division and raised the matter but they kept avoiding us. The sad part is that our qualifications are not even considered because our salaries are the same as other recruits who hold no qualifications,” said the source.

“We were informed that we would not go through the normal training like everybody else. We were supposed to go through another training but it was not the case. I hold a Bachelor Honours in Geo-Information Science that I obtained at the Namibia University of Science and Technology.  They are undermining my education and the institution that gave it to me,” said another graduate, who also joined the force under the same circumstances.

“We never signed appointment letters or contracts nor were we informed about the salaries and employment conditions. Had I known that this is what is waiting for me, I would not have left my job even though I was just employed on contract. None of my fellow colleagues received appointment letters. The reason why most of us applied for this job is because it looked promising,” said another source.

“I was on a contract at my previous job, as you know, everyone wants to have a permanent job and the government is one of the institutions that gives you that assurance of a permanent job, especially with the right qualification.  My contract was due to end at my former employer so I thought since it was a Government post I should take it up to secure my future.

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