By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK After a stint of a year and eight months as Namibia’s diplomatic representative to Zambia and Tanzania, Lieutenant General Martin Shalli has been recalled and appointed as chief of the Namibian Defence Force. Shalli replaces Lieutenant General Dumeni Solomon Hawala, who is due to retire this month on October 31. Shali’s military career, which dates back to 1974 when he joined the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan), was interrupted when he was appointed Namibia’s High Commissioner to Zambia and non-resident High Commissioner to Tanzania on February 1, 2005. President Hifikepunye Pohamba said when he announced Shalli’s appointment on Friday that the Security Commission, which recommended the appointment, “satisfied itself that Lieutenant General Shalli is the most suitable candidate and he meets all the requirements for this important post”. When he left for his diplomatic assignment, Shalli was Commander of the Namibian Army. Pohamba said he was confident that with Shalli’s professional service background and dedication, the new NDF Chief would serve the country and the people well. “He is stepping into the shoes of his predecessor, Lieutenant General Dumeni Solomon Hawala, another son of the Namibian soil who served Namibia and her people with utmost dedication,” the President said. Amongst the many positions he has held in his military career are Platoon Commander, Detachment Commander, Chief of Air Defence, Chief of Staff of the North Eastern Front, Plan Chief of Operations, Director of Operations of the NDF, NDF Chief of Staff and Commander of the Namibian Army. Shalli has been decorated with three medals, namely Order of Eagle 2nd Class, Omungulugombashe Medal, Namibia Cross for Bravery Silver and NDF Ten Years of Service. Pohamba described Shalli’s predecessor Hawala as a veteran of the liberation struggle who has also been a revered military strategist with outstanding combat leadership. Apart from participating in many battles as a junior officer, he also directed successful military campaigns as Deputy Commander of Plan and participated in many strategic military planning operations. Hawala has been decorated with the Order of the Eagle 1st Class, Omungulugombashe Medal, Namibia Cross for Bravery Silver and NDF Ten Years of Service.
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