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Army recruitment marches on

2023-02-23  Edward Mumbuu

Army recruitment marches on

The Namibian Defence Force is expected to recruit a batch of trainees for the second year in a row later this year as it moves to beef up its personnel, New Era has established. 

This recruitment, however, is subject to approval by the army’s top brass, and will largely depend on the availability of adequate funds. 

Over 100 000 Namibians applied for the most recent defence intake, with just 57 000 meeting the requirements. Of these applicants, 3 000 were shortlisted. 

In the final round, 1 451 made the cut.  

Confirming the recruitment plans, defence spokesperson Petrus Shilumbu said the information was not yet official, and would be formally communicated once all is in place. 

“There are plans to recruit. But the public should be patient. The information will be officially communicated and advertised in the newspapers,” Shilumbi said. 

The army, however, will not run parallel training for would-be-soldiers. 

This means the ongoing training should end before the new intake can be identified. 

The ongoing training is likely to run until August this year after the recruits reported for training on 7 November 2o22. 

“The training is likely to be completed in August, if there are no disturbances such as Covid-19 or anything else,” Shilumbu said, before expressing satisfaction in the continuing exercise. 

He said it is not easy for a civilian to transition into a soldier’s life due to the taxing exercises involved and added responsibilities, among them protecting Namibia’s territorial integrity.

“They [trainees] have adapted very well in the military environment… they have proven themselves to become members of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF),” he continued.


Combat ready 

The 16th recruit intake training is now in its seventh week. 

During this period, the soon-to-be soldiers have been subjected to strenuous exercises to absorb their mental and physical fitness, and ability to cope in the military world. 

According to official information, one event in the curriculum they will forever reminisce about is the 30-kilometre route march exercise that appeared unexpected to most.

“The recruit training wing at the NDF Training Establishment conducted this exercise on New Year’s Eve. The recruits buckled up in full combat equipment fighting order as early as 04h00 in the morning to endure a 30-kilometre route march, starting off at the school and covering the whole training area to successfully complete the walk on the deadline,” Shilumbu noted. It was to test cohesiveness, mobility, and assess the recruits’ mental and physical ability to deal with unexpected encounters. 

“At the end of the day, the recruits successfully covered the required distance in a specified time, and it attested to their adaptation to the military environment and combat- readiness,” he enthused. 

Last year, the NDF took in 1 400 new cadets, a process which was lauded as a representation of a true Namibian army, with each political region securing a minimum of 103 slots. 

Only the more densely-populated Ohangwena (117), Omusati (117) and Khomas (133) have more cadets. 

The NDF was deliberate about ensuring that recruitment reflected the ethnic makeup of the country: a Namibian house, wherein all have equal opportunity.  

This is why the recruitment process was decentralised to each of the 14 political regions and 121 constituencies, as opposed to a centralised one whose outcome would normally be decided in Windhoek. 

In the past, the recruitment was directly proportional to each region’s population.

This meant that the more populous a given region is, the more members it would send to the force. 

This meant less populated regions such as Hardap with fewer than 80 000 inhabitants, would only secure less than 20 slots during a given recruitment, which is not the case now when juxtaposed with the 103 recruits it sent last year. 

Things changed in 2022 when the NDF management decided that each region must get an equal share, irrespective of the number of its inhabitants. 

The force also went a step further, deploying a watertight vetting process to ensure that the majority of those being recruited from specific regions originally hail from those regions.

2023-02-23  Edward Mumbuu

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