Albertina Nakale Windhoek-The newly appointed permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defence Rear Admiral Peter Hafeni Vilho says he believes it is high time the ‘Oshaatotwa group’ in the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) hands over power to the younger generation. The Oshaatotwa group gets its name from a Swapo military training camp in Zambia, where the majority of Namibian PLAN combatants were trained to fight the South African army during the anti-colonial struggle. These soldiers were integrated into the NDF after independence and continue to occupy senior ranks in the force. Vilho made the plea yesterday when he was officially introduced by Defence Minister Penda ya Ndokolo, following the resignation of former permanent secretary Peter Shivute in July. The new defence P.S quoted President Hage Geingob who during his address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week said Namibia values empowerment of the youth and that the ‘Tanganyika Group’ – a generation of Swapo leaders to which he belongs – would leave very soon. “Very soon, the last crop of the Tanganyika group, including myself, will make way for the new breed,” Geingob said. Vilho has served as Namibian navy commander for the past 10 years before handing over to Sinsy Nghipandua earlier this month. “At the UN General Assembly, the president was quoted as saying the Tanganyika group will leave very soon. I believe the same applies to the Oshaatotwa group. Our generation finds itself in a transitional period. We are transitional leaders,” he remarked. Vilho said the young generation forms the bridge that links PLAN veterans to those that were enlisted after independence. “What we do in our last days in the service will determine whether we leave behind a professional force, where regulations are enforced, or an armed militia where everyone does as he or she pleases.” He pledged to produce combat-ready soldiers, cautioning members that if they find themselves engaged in activities in the name of the NDF that do not contribute to that objective, then they are wasting time and resources. He added that such people would weaken the defence force and render the population vulnerable to foreign subjugation. “So, whether we are in uniform or civilian attire, we are all here to serve the soldier, the airman, the sailor. He is our most important customer,” Vilho stressed. He told his staff that the only option open to them is to embark as a matter of urgency upon a strategic defence review, saying this will help determine whether there is a fit between their military strategic objectives and related tasks on the one hand, and their force design and force structure on the other. Ya Ndakolo said Vilho is not new to the NDF and is no stranger to the system. He told Vilho that it was of paramount importance to the defence leadership and management systems that there is teamwork and fairness in dealing with all colleagues and customers. The minister then called on all to work together to ensure strategic and operational defence objectives are met in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. He was confident that together with the chief of the defence force and with the support of the minister they would make the grade. “So, Nathinge, Nambagu, Lugambo, Lennox and the rest of your generation, it is up to you whether you want to do this with our help, or you want to do it alone after we are gone,” he noted and urged his team to exercise the principles of equity, transparency, probity, prudence and accountability.
2017-09-26 09:06:09 11 months ago