Query: Mr President, appoint a team to investigate the recruitment policy in the Ministry of
Defence. There is a lot of favouritism. Each and every citizen of this country must be employed if they meet the requirements.
Mr President, help open the eyes of defence leaders, especially the recruiting unit. Defence shouldn’t be the refuse bin for those who are uneducated or unskilled. This is a ministry that must be respected and we both know why.
Response: The Ministry of Defence hereby responds to most of the complaints raised through the Namibian newspaper SMS page. Promotion in the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) is done in accordance with the criteria set in the Namibian Defence Force Personnel Policies. There are two categories of servicemen in the military: commissioned and non-commissioned officers. As such criteria in terms of their promotion differ in some instances. According to the NDF Promotion Policy, promotion is governed by the following criteria:
(1) Recommendation. To qualify for the next rank, a commissioned or non-commissioned officer must be recommended for promotion in his/her annual confidential report.
(2)Military Qualifications. These will differ between each Arm of Service (Namibian Army, Air Force and the Navy) and will include passing applicable qualification courses stipulated in the NDF Promotion Policy.
(3)Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant. When an officer successfully completes 18-months service in the rank of Second Lieutenant, he or she is automatically promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. An officer who fails to reach the necessary standard whilst in the rank of Second Lieutenant is to be discharged from the Service.
(4) Promotion Examinations. Promotion examinations are to be undertaken from the rank of Lieutenant to Captain and from Captain to Major. Promotion from the rank of Major upwards is to be by selection.
(5) Age. An officer/soldier should be within the stipulated age bracket for promotion.
(6) Selection. Although qualified and recommended, an officer/soldier must be selected for promotion. Selection will depend on the availability of vacant posts. Officers and Soldiers have no right to automatic promotion. They are to be selected/promoted by Officers/Soldiers Selection/Promotion Boards.
(7) Other Standards. An officer/ soldier is to meet the minimum standards in military qualifications, education, medical and personal fitness stipulated in the NDF Promotion Policy.
The complaints may have been written by persons who are not members of the NDF. This assumption is derived from the fact that all the members of the NDF are expected to be conversant with the NDF Promotion Policy. The criteria listed above are very clear and always explained to the members from their initial training and by the Commanders at parades and other avenues where interactions with their subordinates take place. The complainants are therefore insinuating if they are members of the NDF. The honourable thing they need to do, therefore, is to read and understand the NDF Promotion Policy and stop misleading the nation.
Query: What are the recruitment criteria used to join the Namibian Defence Force?
Response: The requirements for recruitment into the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) have changed over a time. Since 1995 until recently, the requirements for academic qualifications were grade 10 and above for soldiers and Grade 12 and above for officers. However, these requirements were changed in 2015 due to the nature of contemporary warfare.
The Requirements/ Criteria are:
Subject to section 7(2) of the Defence Act (Act No.1 of 2002), no person is eligible for the enrolment in the Defence Force in a permanent or temporary capacity unless such person:
a. Is a Namibian citizen
b. Is not less than 18 years old.
c. Has passed grade 12 having obtained the points as per advertisement.
d. Have no criminal record.
e. Meets the required standard of medical fitness determined by the Chief of the Defence Force for the mustering, service of duties for which he or she is about to be enrolled.
f. Has the other attributes and qualifications which in the opinion of the Chief of the Defence Force are required for his or her training or necessary for the execution of the duties or services which he or she may be required to perform.
The Chief of the Defence Force must assess the eligibility of every applicant for enrolment in the Defence Force and may in exceptional circumstances, when making such assessment relax the requirements concerning age, medical fitness and the educational requirements for permanent or temporary enrolment in the Defence Force.
From time to time, the Chief of the Defence Force may recruit candidates who may not necessarily meet requirements due to the directive from Cabinet (eg. Previous disadvantage community, marginalized community and children of the liberation struggle etc). Every time the Namibian Defence Force recruits, a new Recruitment Board is appointed to oversee the recruitment process. This is a quality assurance mechanism that ensures balance and equal representation of all 14 regions in Namibia.
The requirements are as such because, soldiers are expected to plan, lead and operate sophisticated weapons systems due to the constantly changing technologies. They are therefore not only operators of weapon systems but must also intelligently apply their minds to everything they are doing and the environment they are working in.
These challenges are even greater for Namibia because the NDF is a young defence force and as such it relies on assistance from other countries, in terms of specialised training or acquisition of military equipment. Members of the NDF are also expected to operate jointly with the soldiers of other nations in assistance of a neighbour or in Peace Support Operations. They are therefore expected to have the necessary training to enable them to operate effectively.
It must be understood that the NDF was not meant to provide employment, but it was established with a mission to “Defend the territorial integrity of the Republic of Namibia and protect its people and their properties”. The NDF can only accomplish this mission if it has the right human capital and material resources in place at the right time. Those who do not meet the requirements of the NDF are therefore advised and encouraged to try other fields of their choice and interests.
* Mr Gideon Shuuya, Chief Media Officer, Ministry of Defence