Namibian Navy enhances security in Zambezi Region

Niël Terblanché

In order to bolster security along Namibia’s perennial waterways, the deployment of the Namibian Navy on the Zambezi, Chobe, and Kavango rivers has markedly diminished security challenges that have long plagued the region.

The Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Frans Kapofi, said that the deployment of sailors in troubled areas is clear evidence of the Navy’s successful efforts in curtailing illegal border crossings, unregulated fishing, poaching, and drug smuggling.

The transformative impact of this deployment was underscored during the ceremonial renaming of the Naval Base Impalila to Naval Base Lieutenant General John Sinvula Mutwa, in honour of a distinguished military figure whose life and career symbolize the valour and resilience of the Namibian people.

The base, which underwent significant rehabilitation in 2017, now stands as a bastion of regional security, cross-border cooperation and unity.

Originally established as a strategic military point by the South African Defence Force before Namibia’s independence, and later serving the Impalila community as a secondary school until 2012, the base’s transition into a critical naval facility marks a profound evolution in its role within the community and the region at large.

According to the minister, the comprehensive rehabilitation project, culminating in 2017 with the addition of a jetty, stresses the Namibian government’s commitment to leveraging infrastructure for national security and development.

Kapofi, in his address, recalled the commissioning of the naval base and jetty in June 2019, a move that signified Namibia’s dedication to safeguarding its borders and enhancing cooperation with neighbouring countries.

He said the establishment of a naval district covering key rivers was a strategic response to the myriad security challenges that had beset the area, including theft and drug smuggling.

“The enhanced naval presence, complemented by collaboration with and the presence of the Namibian Police, the Impalila Conservancy Authority, and law enforcement agencies from neighbouring countries, has significantly curtailed crime, fostering a safer environment for the local community,” he said

The base now features state-of-the-art facilities, including accommodation, a sewage treatment plant, and a floating jetty which further solidifies its role in the region’s security apparatus.

At the heart of the renaming ceremony was the tribute to Lieutenant General John Sinvula Mutwa, a figure whose legacy encompasses not only military prowess but also a profound commitment to his nation and its people.

Born in 1960 and having joined the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) in exile, General Mutwa’s journey through military ranks and international training epitomizes a life dedicated to national service.

Kapofi said that renaming the base in his honour was not just a recognition of his contributions but also a testament to the collective valour and sacrifice of PLAN combatants.

“His legacy, characterized by courage, leadership, and a steadfast commitment to duty, serves as an enduring inspiration for current and future generations,” the minister said.

According to Kapofi, Naval Base Lieutenant General John Sinvula Mutwa stands as a symbol of national pride, resilience, and unwavering dedication to peace and security while Namibia continues to navigate the complexities of regional security and cooperation.

“This historic renaming of the naval base reaffirms Namibia’s commitment to honouring its heroes and ensuring that their legacies inspire future endeavours in service and leadership,” he said.

He said the use of the naval base emphasises Namibia’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its defence capabilities and regional partnerships and that the renaming of the facility is a fitting homage to all men and women in uniform who have devoted their lives to the country, embodying the spirit of unity and sacrifice for the nation’s prosperity and security.

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