Monday 14 June 2021
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One cannot raise a dog during the darkest night: NDF is the security assurance of Namibia.

The Executive Director of the Ministry of Defence, Real Admiral Peter Hafeni Vilho, was quoted as having told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration that he was “sick and tired” of perennial complaints about perceived exorbitant budget allocated to the Ministry of Defence.
The Executive Director is right. The Ministry of Defence is a Constitutional institution.
The Ministry has a mandate to fulfil.
Those who are complaining about the size of the Defence budget do conveniently ignore the vast mission of the Namibian Defence Force.
The Defence Act 1 of 2002 defines the broad mission of the Namibian Defence Force.
The Defence Force’s mission is to combat, prevent or suppress any attack or act of aggression which is directed at Namibia in any manner by any armed force or group of persons or any threat of such attach or act of aggression.
In the early 1990s UNITA bandits unleashed attacks around the Kavango Region.
The Namibia Defence was forced to deploy troops to defend the territorial integrity and save lives in the Region.
Traveling along the highway linking Kavango Region to then Caprivi Region became a risk.
The Namibia Defence Force had to introduce a system of military convoys to protect travellers using that highway. Such combat missions require manpower and appropriate equipment.
Such equipment is not cheap. Since one cannot accurately predict as to when a state of national defence shall arise the Defence Force has at all times to remain ready for such an eventuality.
The Defence Force is further tasked to preserve life, health and property in our patrimony. Disasters are part of life. Floods or droughts and other disasters happen regularly in our country and in our neighbourhood.
The Defence Force has to be ready at all times to be deployed to prevent lost of life and destruction of property in such a situation. Disasters do not give a warning. They can happen any time.
The Defence Force has to be capacitated to meet such eventualities.
Moreover, the Defence Force has to be called upon to maintain internal order in the event of domestic conflict.
In 1999, the Caprivi secessionists attacked Katima Mulilo town. Many lives were lost.
The Namibia Defence Force was called in to restore order and stabilize the situation.
Members of the Namibian Defence Force may be deployed in peace-keeping missions of the United Nations or the African Union or the Southern African Development Community.
In this regard the Namibia Deforce Force participated in the United Nations in countries such as Cambodia, Angola, Liberia, Ethiopia and Sudan.
The mission of NDF is broad and requires a Defence Force which is agile: well trained and appropriately equipped.
Given the vast Territory of Namibia the NDF has to have the capacity of mobility.
This means that the Defence Force has to be well funded, hence the perceived high budget of the Ministry of Defence.
In my language there is a saying: “One cannot raise a dog during the darkest night!”.
This means that one has to be prepared for a darkest night or an unpleasant development. Security threats of any kind are difficult to predict.
As a nation we should at all times be prepared. The Namibian Defence Force is our security assurance policy.
The nation should therefore be prepared to make sacrifices in order to keep our Defence Force well trained and well equipped.
The perception that NDF members are just sitting in military bases doing nothing is wrong. NDF members are ready to be commanded to carry out any mission within duties assigned to them in the Defence Act.
As the drought looms NDF will be called upon to assist the civilian authorities to distribute food and other essentials to remote areas. The transport equipment of NDF should be in working order for the Force to carry out such a task. This costs money.
Instead of bashing the NDF the nation should focus on the economy.
Our Development Budget should target low hanging fruits in the economy for investing.
Targeted investment in the sectors such as construction shall create jobs and at the same time stimulate the economic activities. The nation should also limit its consumption and save more.
If national saving levels could improve the nation will be able to invest in the economy and enlarge the national cake.
In this way Government will be able to collect more taxes and fund essential services including the Namibia Defence Force.

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