Yes, Mr President, army roll-call’s due


THE word is out. President John Pombe Magufuli , who is the country’s commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has rolled out some 3,000-odd army jobs.

There are those who will go ‘hoo-haa’ about us in Tanzania getting too ‘militarised’ or some other funny accolades; we say we’re getting ever friendly.

Odd, you might say, here’s the evidence. When southern Africa needed western assistance against settler assistance, everyone from London to Lisbon and from Washington to Montreal folded up their arms with knowing nods.

It was this poor country which came strongly in support of the oppressed. As an aside, the Holy Bible’s Old Testament is full of wars, exemplified by the Lord Himself when He empowered a small Israeli boy, David, to floor down the giant Goliath, with a single stone from a sling-shot.

Now you know that God Himself fights on behalf of small, if just, nations.

We’re not about to dance in our own wedding; but the truth is, this country has sacrificed both blood and material wealth for the sake of others; nor are we claiming any compensation for such sacrifices; all we’re saying is that when a neighbour is unsafe – for whatever reason – you cannot be safe next door.

And, this is a well-tested adage – attested by savage killings of our people in Kagera by an equally savage rule by a distractor of yore.

But, yes, the president is currently kitting the armed forces with new blood, rolling out an employment carpet for an additional 3,000 new soldiers – on top of the government’s own intentions of recruiting more than 50,000 fresh civil servants.

Unlike biblical times when women didn’t feature prominently in the defence of their nations – except as itinerant informers, perhaps – now we have females flying fighter jets.

The same could be said every other sector in our common development effort. We are, therefore, calling for more girls and young women to come forward and seize the hour; although the president singled out fresh graduates from the National Service – or JKT as we adorably know it – for particular attention, we should add that willing females should get priority attention.

To date, the army is still predominantly male; this is an historical imperative that needs immediate correction.

And, this isn’t some gender ‘something’ as you might say; it’s about serious debate about the future of this country. It isn’t enough that women be heard; they should be out there doing their duty – on behalf of all of us.

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