General Mwamunyange at the helm of Tanzania Peoples Defence Forces
By Emmanuel Hayuka
The name Mwamunyange is well known among many Tanzanians especially when it comes to issues pertaining to defence and security.
This is as a result of the numerous positions that members of the said family have held in the aforementioned sector.
The late Adolf Mwamunyange, the father of the newly appointed Chief of Defence Forces, as well as his elder brother Aden Mwamunyange who is now a retired police officer were among the first indigenous police officers to be appointed in the first phase government of the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
`We have a strong history of employment in the police force because our father was among the first police officers to be appointed during `Africanisation` process immediately after independence,` says Aden Mwamunyange.
Commenting on his younger brothers` appointment, Aden told the writer that he is delighted and wished him success in his new position as Chief of Defence Forces.
`Upon completion of his studies, he asked for advice over his intention of joining Tanzania People`s Defence Forces,I gave him a go ahead,` says Aden.
Before President Jakaya Kikwete elevated him to the rank of full General and therefore appointing him to the position of Chief of Defence Forces, Davis Mwamunyange held the position of Chief of General Staff.
It is not sheer luck that has stirred the new Defence forces chief to the ladder of success as Aden emphasizes the fact that, his young brothers achievement is a result of hard-working, discipline, intelligence and co-operation with his colleagues.
`I am not saying this because he is my young brother, but those are some of the qualities he possesses. For instance, when he was appointed Chief of General Staff, I advised him to continue to maintain self discipline and not to discriminate others for whatever reasons`, says Aden.
In reaction to his appointment, Chief of Defence Forces, General Davis Mwamunyange is quoted as having said, `May I first thank God for enabling me to reach this great day and also thank the President for trusting me with this highly responsible national position`
During his swearing-in ceremony at the State House grounds on Saturday Gen.Davis Mwamunyange briefly talked about the challenges facing the Tanzania People\'s Defence Forces.
He mentioned the most serious challenge as that of indiscipline among some members of the force further highlighting allegations of armed robbery leveled against some members of the force.
`We are here for the purpose of protecting the integrity of the nation, citizens and their properties. When it happens that our soldiers are involved in criminal acts, we are saddened and take action to correct such situation,` he emphasised.
The increasing armed robbery incidents in the country which involve criminals from neighbouring countries could be a strong indication that there are loopholes in the protection of our borders.
The recent killing of fourteen heavily armed robbers from Kenya in Arusha recently provides vivid evidence as to the magnitude of the problem.
Hence, the challenge ahead of the new Defence Forces Chief is to ensure that national borders are well protected.
The relationship between the soldiers and the civilians is another concern which the new CDF needs to address.
For quite sometime now there have been incidents, though they are not rampant, of soldiers beating civilians on account of civil disorder.
For example, Canadian citizen, John Susdorf was recently quoted by the press alleging that he was beaten by soldiers from Nyumbu military camp in Kibaha on April 23rd .
`The army has no jurisdiction over civilians but I was physically attacked by four soldiers without provocation, in front of my son`, he said and went further to mention the names of accused soldiers.
Thus it is expected by the public that the new Chief of Defence Forces will seriously deal with such incidents.
Likewise, the issue of training, acquiring of advance military equipment needs to be given priority so to strengthen the capacity of the force.
The sensitive issue of increased remuneration for members of the force needs to be looked into so as to discourage temptation of involvement in criminal activities such as armed robbery.