New Era (Windhoek)

18 February 2013

Namibia: Pohamba Urges Women to Aspire to Lead the NDF

Windhoek — President Hifikepunye Pohamba as Commander-in-Chief of the Namibian Defence Force on Friday called on Namibian women who aspire to join the Namibia Defence Force (NDF) and those who are already in the force to work hard in order to assume command responsibilities in the NDF.

The president was introduced by the recently appointed Minister of Defence, Nahas Angula, who described the NDF as a learning institution.

Pohamba was addressing 54 cadet officers in the NDF who were commissioned after completing a 17-month regular commissioning course at the Osona Military Base near Okahandja. Of the 54 cadets, 15 were females. "It is a pity I have grown older. I would like to see the Chief of Defence being a woman. I hope this can be done. I hope it can be done," Pohamba said.

Women have for long been playing second fiddle to men, however the problem has not been attributed solely to society's perception of women as inferior to men,

but also to the lack of support among women for each other. The president further said he hopes the next intake for the commissioning course would constitute more women. The cadet officers commissioned started with the commissioning course in September 2011. The training is said to be demanding, both physically and psychologically.

The officers received training in basic soldiering skills, conventional warfare, low intensity operations, leadership and administration. "The aim is to mould and develop trainees into knowledgeable military officers capable of becoming effective leaders within the Namibian Defence Force," Pohamba explained.

He added that the training was also aimed at fostering cooperation and dedication within the NDF and urged the commissioned officers to fully apply the knowledge and skills that they acquired during the training, and to continue maintaining the reputation of the NDF, which has distinguished itself both regionally and internationally.

"This is a special day for each one of you and I, therefore, wish to congratulate you on your achievement," he said.

Brigadier General Frederick Siluzungila, Commandant of the Military School, said the training is an important milestone in the history of the NDF, and was the first of its kind to be offered by Namibian instructors with the help of Zimbabweans. He further said the cadet officers who were commissioned are the next leaders of the military. He urged them to apply their minds to what they were taught during the 17-month course.

"You should serve the force with loyalty and integrity", he advised the cadet officers.

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