By Lt General (Rtd) Denga Ndaitwah
Continues from last week …
WHY that secret and magic was implemented to the letter and spirit is because soldiers do follow and adhere to instructions as long instructions are clear. Soldiers do understand the language of being in combat. The language of being in combat is to kill and/or get killed. I do not want to talk of injuries while in combat.
At the time of integration into a single command, ex-combatants understood that language because they were just emerging from the killing zones or what I shall term as the guillotine. When a soldier is in combat, it is like you have a guillotine over your neck or death hanging over your head. Hence, the pioneers of the NDF heeded to the call of Policy of National Reconciliation in order to circumvent the situation of reverting to war, loss of lives and possible destruction.
In this regard, credit must be given where it is due. First, credit goes to the political leaders who advocated the Policy of National Reconciliation. Second, it must be given to pioneers of the NDF who while wielding lethal weapons of war, were able to handle them professionally. Third, it goes to the entire citizens of this country. The driving force was the Policy of National Reconciliation and it is that Policy that brought about political stability, economic development and social security in Namibia since independence till date.
History taught us how some nations became ungovernable where soldiers were wrongly used against their own people including their families. We have seen states on this planet earth that became stateless as they were ravaged by wars. We have experienced where citizens became internally displaced persons and refugees in their own countries. We have observed situations where people are affected by famine and unbearable poverty as they had no time to produce but rather had to run for their lives. We have seen situations where soldiers and civilians alike were manipulated by political leaders and caused total political pandemonium, economic destruction, social mayhem, instability and insecurity to nations. It is therefore, imperative that the Policy of National Reconciliation is not tempered with.
From the foregoing, it is of paramount importance to heed to the call by the President who now and then has called for a non-violent political atmosphere that must prevail in this country. Let all Namibians take that vivid example from the NDF that was integrated into a single command after a few months of bloody battle. As we are human beings, we shall always have and harbour different opinions and views. But different opinions and views must not make us enemies.
Namibia’s history is very rich particularly for a few of us who experienced the revolution of the bitter liberation struggle. I know it is only a few of us who have seen our comrades, friends, relatives and members of our families sacrificing their precious lives at the hands of the enemy for the liberation of this country. It is only a few of us who experienced the bitterness of actual war. It is only a few of us who are battle tested and no longer itching to pull the trigger as soldiers are not trigger happy. It is only a few of us who have suffered from war trauma, hysteria and hallucinations from which we are still recovering. Simply put, it is unfortunate that it is only a very small fraction of us who have gone through hell of war. Because of that small fraction that has gone through hell, a certain quarter of our population is ignorant about the consequences of war. As such, they do not understand the value of peace and stability.
In the final analysis, let me conclude by briefly enlightening readers on the causes of conflicts, wars and their consequences. Conflict and war can start from within (intrastate) or from without (interstate). Conflict and war can be caused and ignited by numerous things. Among them, conflict and war can be caused and ignited by political resentments, ideological differences, land and many more others.
But regardless of the causes, conflict and war do have price tags in the form of detrimental, destructive and unbearable consequences. Those consequences are ranging from loss of lives, internal displaced persons, destruction of property and even loss of land. It is due to these possible consequences that mindfulness people like some of us who fully understand the consequences of conflict and war, do prefer to go for dialogue as opposed to go for conflict and war.
Let it be unequivocal that, one may be so determined to cause conflict or go for war. But it is always difficult if not impossible to prior determine the magnitude of consequences of conflict or war until it is over. Deciding to go for war is like deciding to commit a suicide by ramming yourself into a fast moving train. The only thing you will know before death is the decision of ramming yourself on the training. But you will not be able to measure and determine the magnitude of consequences after you have been totally smashed to death into pieces by a fast moving train. Therefore, conflict or war is not always the best option or alternative that is available for solution.
It is against this backdrop that, based on the wisdom of Namibians, a country that has just emerged from a bitter and bloody war of liberation struggle, we cannot and must not ruin and destroy peace and stability that was built by this nation for 27 years of independence now.
Lieutenant General (rtd) Denga Ndaitwah is a former Chief of the Defence Force, part time Lecturer at UNAM, Head of Department and Senior Lecturer at IUM, holder of MA in Strategic Studies.
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