NDF celebrates 34 years of unity and preparedness

Niël Terblanché

The Namibian Defence Force (NDF) celebrated its 34th anniversary on 21 June 2024 at the Lt Gen Dimo Hamaambo Garrison in Grootfontein.

The event, which commemorated the establishment and achievements of the NDF, was officially inaugurated by the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Frans Kapofi.

Kapofi while addressing dignitaries and soldiers assembled on parade, paid tribute to the NDF’s remarkable journey since its inception in 1990, following Namibia’s independence.

He honoured the memory of the late Lieutenant General Jerobeam Dimo Hamaambo, the NDF’s first Chief of Defence, who played a crucial role in uniting former combatants of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and members of the South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) into a single cohesive force.

“The NDF was the first institution to embody the principle of national reconciliation, bringing together former adversaries to form a solid unit united by one purpose,” said Kapofi.

He stressed that this unity has been the cornerstone of the NDF’s success and its role in fostering peace and stability in Namibia.

Kapofi reiterated the NDF’s constitutional mandate to defend Namibia’s territory and national interests.

According to Kapofi, the NDF, over the past 34 years, has demonstrated its capability in safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty, responding to various security challenges, and participating in peacekeeping missions across Africa.

“The NDF has made our nation proud with its robustness and determination in the face of danger,” he said.

He lauded the force’s contributions to peace support operations in countries such as Angola, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others.

Kapofi pointed out that Namibia currently boasts the highest number of female officers deployed in United Nations peacekeeping operations which reflects the NDF’s commitment to gender equality and international solidarity.

The defence minister stressed the importance of continual training and modernisation to keep the NDF on par with leading regional forces.

He called for ongoing efforts to enhance the NDF’s capabilities, including force mobility, technological advancement, and defence diplomacy.

Kapofi stressed the need to remain vigilant against emerging threats such as terrorism and violent extremism, which pose significant challenges to regional stability.

“Our soldiers, airmen, and sailors must be prepared to defend our country and its interests at all times,” Kapofi urged.

He emphasised that maintaining a robust and well-equipped defence force is essential for deterring potential threats and ensuring national security.

Kapofi commended the efforts of former and current military leaders in maintaining and developing the NDF, despite numerous challenges over the years.

“We are proud of the NDF’s evolution from an experiment in national reconciliation to a fully developed force that covers all dimensions of our territory,” Kapofi said.

He praised the NDF for its role in fostering a sense of pride and belonging among Namibians and for its commitment to excellence and professionalism.

“As provided for by Vision 2030, I am reaffirming our government’s dedication to developing the NDF to be on par with the best in the region,” Kapofi concluded.

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