The country’s official opposition, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), yesterday welcomed the appointment of Air Marshal Martin Kambulu Pinehas as the new chief of the defence force (CDF), urging him to refrain from politics and do his work without fear or favour in the interest of all Namibians.
President Hage Geingob last week appointed Pinehas, the commander of the Namibian Air Force, as the new CDF replacing Lieutenant General John Mutwa, who has been beset by ill-health since the beginning of last year.
“The PDM has welcomed the appointment of the CDF by the appointing authority, by the head of State. However, we are having reservation with the behaviour of Pinehas, who is supposed to protect the territorial integrity of Namibia and the human rights of her people,” said the party secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe yesterday.
“As the commanding officer of the Air wing, Mr Pinehas acts as a politician at times and compromises his position by involving himself in community affairs that are none of the business of a man in uniform,” said Ngaringombe.
“As a member of the NDF he is ought not to be political and must always be ready to defend the rights of all Namibian citizens,” he added.
Ngaringombe last year stated Pinehas was responsible for the abuse of the Otjohorongo communal farmers in the Erongo region who were herding cattle alongside the railway in the district of the Karibib Airbase farm and Etiro.
During this time, he said, many farmers were physically abused by the men and women in uniform under Pinehas’ command and some are still bearing the scars caused by that particular incident.
“Those that were commanding that operation were practising tribalism in that they remarked that they were going to ‘beat those Hereros (herders) and do the same as General Von Trotta of the German imperial colonial army did in the 1904 to 1908,” he said.
“A man in uniform only act on the command of his/her superior and PDM is convinced that the action of the members of the Air wing during the incident was an instruction from their commander in the name of Pinehas,” he added.