Defence chief unhappy with non-promotion of soldiers

Namibian Defence Force (NDF) chief Martin Pinehas has denounced the lack of promotion of long-serving soldiers.

Speaking at the defence headquarters in Windhoek during the conferment of rank to 20 generals and senior officers on Monday, Pinehas called for the fair and equitable promotion of soldiers.

“I want to appeal to you generals and senior officers. Now we are happy because you are promoted. You, yourselves are happy because you have been promoted, but it does not end there. You have people serving under your commands. Our soldiers are complaining. They are not happy because we do not take care of them when it comes to promotions,” Pinehas said.

He noted that when soldiers are unhappy, it is a red flag.

“We just don’t pay attention. We have members who have been on one rank for more than 10 to 15 years, but they are under our command. What is the problem?
“Please look down and stop looking up. Up is not your responsibility but looking on those serving under you is your responsibility. I do not want to hear you are running up and down trying to look for another promotion again before you promote those that are under you,” he said.

Pinehas further urged generals and senior officers to look after the welfare of soldiers.

“How do you feel that you are now promoted, but a fellow soldier has not been promoted for the last 20 years? Now that soldier has become a permanent corporal, but there is no case in the file of that individual to say maybe he/she was tried or found guilty of something. What is really happening?”

Martin Pinehas


Pinehas said promotions must be done fairly without discriminating against anyone.

“Let us be truly fair when we deal with our people … We must always be fair in our dealings so that we can develop a defence force that is coherent and very strong indeed.”

He said promotions are an integral part of career progression in the NDF and should be viewed as recognition that members have been appropriately developed and empowered to take on more responsibility and perform functions at a higher rank.

“It is worth noting that suitable candidates for promotion should have appropriate qualifications, relevant experiences and demonstrate competencies and abilities to serve in higher ranks and appointments,” he added.


In recent months, soldiers have been sending anonymous messages to activist Micheal Amushelelo seeking his intervention due to not being promoted despite having served in the NDF for many years.

Police officers have also lamented the issue of a lack of promotions through the media, activists and politicians.

Namibian Police inspector general Joseph Shikongo, however, yesterday told The Namibian half of the police force has been promoted so far.

He said since December last year more than 7 000 police officers have been promoted in the force which comprises over 14 000 officers.

“Those who are complaining, I understand are those at the Windhoek police station and have joined the force in 2014, but we have promoted some and we are still going to promote others. It is not only them, there are those who even joined before them and are still having lower ranks. We are working on promoting everyone,” he said.

Shikongo asserted that promotions are done according to different factors and not all police officers can be promoted at once.

“Promotion is a yearly thing and is given to those who truly deserve it,” he added.

He noted that his office has been receiving letters from the Office of the Ombudsman containing complaints from police officers.

“If you go to the ombudsman, we will still respond, but complaining through activists and politicians, I don’t think that will solve anything. If you have a grievance, write directly to the office of the inspector general other than using politicians.”

Shikongo said the police should not involve politicians.

“Police officers are not allowed to get involve in politics,” he added.

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