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Let’s appreciate General Mabeyo’s 43 years of glorious army service

Let’s appreciate General Mabeyo’s 43 years of glorious army service

AS I reflect on the 43 years of glorious service of retired General Venance Mabeyo, within our highly respected and capable army, as an ordinary Tanzanian who had the opportunity to undergo JKT training at JK 833, F-Coy, under the theme “Programu ya Chama”, I could not licence my hand and my thinking to remain quite, but must say a word to congratulate and to thank General Venance Mabeyo as a leader of our time, amidst challenges that faced our nation at the time no one had anticipated.

Realised that not everyone at my age willingly can reflect on why I have volunteered decided to extend wholeheartedly my thanks to him, for the act of managing the Nation so well after the historic tragedy in our country of Tanzania that is the loss of the sitting President, Dr John Pombe Magufuli, and the ability to protect Tanzania and its borders while maintaining harmony within the army and ultimately getting our nation where we are today, enduring peace and tranquillity, is a job that can demonstrate how General Venance Mabeyo was not only a leader who knew his job as a soldier, but the leader whose wisdom and confidence made him vow to serve this nation when he joined the army in January 1979.

Unquestionably, General Venance Mabeyo's career journey and some of his speeches incited me to say a few words. Although I have never had an opportunity to meet him face to face, having read the biography of his career journey and ranks reached leading to Commanders-general encouraged me more on reflection of this great leader.  

Reflecting this journey that started in July 1980 (Lue Usu), then August 1981 (Lieutenant), January 1986 (Captain), October 1991 (Major), June 1998 (Lieutenant Colonel), May 2006 (Colonel), September 2010 (Brigadier General) September 2014 (Major General), June 2016 (Lieutenant General) and 2017 General and various Medals which General Venance Mabeyo was awarded cheer up me for failing to remain silent and without hesitation, decided to congratulate him publicly.

In my layman's understanding, General rank in the army is a journey in which everyone can understand is overwhelmed by ups and downs. But, dazzling in a brief speech, General Venance Mabeyo gave, shortly at the last session of the NDC National Security Board, which was specially organised to bid him farewell before retiring on 30th June 2022, his words will remain a treasure for me and probably for Tanzania and Tanzanians for the generation to come for a long time.

For those who did not have an opportunity to listen to his words which I believe were from the bottom of his heart, he said: “I would like to quote, in my career, a great event that gave me a great test, was after the death of our former President, Dr John Pombe Magufuli. It was a difficult period, but we had to be calm and I thank Tanzanians that were also calm. Many expected Tanzania to enter into chaos. Tanzanians were calm and the army was calm. We thank God for that.” General Venance Mabeyo did go on to emphasise that I quote: “…..It was a big test for us. But we have passed, so far with our peace.”

General Venance Mabeyo did not stop there, he went on to emphasise that I quote….. “we need the current army to deal with the current threats. Current threats need more unity. A coalition that will strengthen them, and perhaps not just the military but all the security forces in Tanzania. General Venance Mabeyo then concluded, I quote…… “So I call on our agencies to come together to deal with current threats that require greater cooperation and unity now than ever before.”

The words of this retired army officer made my reflection go further to see what was said to be a treasure for this nation today and tomorrow. To me, his words are not words that are to be ignored and not to be taken lightly.

What I can say as an ordinary Tanzanian is that his stance, bravery, integrity professionalism, and not being a man of ambition and dignity for what he swore to protect Tanzania and its borders when he joined the army in 1979, is sufficient testimony to the nation of Tanzania.

General Venance Mabeyo's heartfelt words remind me of one important thing. War and unnecessary conflicts always do have devastating consequences for human life and society at large. Not only economic and social development but even investments and any good plans the government might have planned come to a halt. Consequently, poverty reduction is made difficult or unbearable to achieve and even human rights are sometimes violated.

When there is no peace, it is often the poorest that are affected by conflicts and thus caught in a vicious circle, where progress on both poverty reduction and attainment of the millennium goals especially for nations is made more difficult. Economic development without peace is impossible. Economic development nonetheless does not automatically build peace. So, we need peace which is a key ingredient to allowing economic development and investment to thrive well. 

While I would like to go on and on, let me pen down by saying, Mheshimiwa General Venance Mabeyo, congratulations on your retirement! You have been dedicated and appreciated by all Tanzanians and the army for 43 years and your collegial good spirit will certainly be missed.

That said, as a Tanzanian who had very briefly rubbed shoulders with army officers on a strategic project that was regarded as critical for this nation, remotely have all reasons and justification to appreciate the army's work.

I am happy you will now have more time to spend with your family but importantly as you stated, engage in agricultural and pastoral activities. Since you will now be a little free from formal work and national responsibilities, by the power of almighty God maybe there will be a day I will be able to meet you personally, so that I can have an opportunity to give you my hand as a sign of appreciation for the great work you have done while serving in the army for 43 years. May God give you good health.

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Author: Guest Writer

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