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Monday, September 10, 2012

President Kikwete officially launches the National Defence College (NDC)

H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Commander in-Chief of the Armed Forces, gives his opening remarks during the inauguration ceremony of the National Defence College (NDC) and the opening of its first course.  Left to the President is General Davis Mwamunyange, Chief of Defence Forces and Major General Charles Makakala, Commandant of the National Defence College.  Other is Hon. Mahadhi Juma Maalim (MP) (1st left- seating), Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.


Honourable Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, Minister of Defence and National Service;
Honourable Dr. Emmanuel Nchimbi, Minister for Home Affairs;
Honourable Mahadhi Juma Maalim, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation;
Ambassador Ombeni Sefue, Chief Secretary;
Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Ambassador Lu Youqing;
General Davis Mwamunyange, Chief of Defence Forces;
Major General Charles Makakala, Commandant of the National Defense College;
Members of the Faculty;                            
Course participants,
Generals Serving and Retired;
Invited Guests;                     

Ladies and Gentlemen;

I thank you Honorable Minister and Chief of Defense Forces for your kind invitation but more importantly, for associating me with this two historic and auspicious events.  Indeed, the inauguration of the National Defense College of Tanzania and the launching of its first course ever are landmark events in the history of TPDF and our country.  That is why I consider my presence here today as a great honor and a privilege. 

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The idea of establishing the NDC is a longstanding dream, ambition and vision of our military and government.  It is as old as the Tanzania Peoples Defence Forces.  From the time of its establishment in 1964, the leaders of TPDF and the successive leaders of our country envisioned the need of having a National Defense College to cater for strategic defense and security interests of Tanzania.  So, those of us gathered here are witnessing the realization of that dream and the fulfillment of that noble ambition.  One may rightly ask a question why now?  The answer is simple, now is the most appropriate time to have this college.  The Swahili saying “mtoto hatembei siku ya kwanza” (a child does not walk the first day it is born) very aptly illustrates this event today.

Ladies and Gentlemen;
Obviously, at the time of its founding the priority of our military, with regards to training, could not have been the establishment of a national defence college.  It was, rather, the establishment of training institutions to cater for the immediate needs of availability of officers and men to replace colonial and mutinous’ soldiers.   Also, it was to build the critical capacity to defend the country with regards to military personnel and equipment

It is heartwarming indeed, to note the success made so far.  There are several good military schools to train officers and men in the various skills required by the various branches of our military.  There are good schools to train recruits, serving soldiers, Non-Commissioned Officers, officer cadets and serving officers of all ranks and professions.  As we all know, Officer Cadets courses as well as Platoon Commanders’, Company Commanders and Command and Staff Courses are being offered at the Tanzania Military Academy at Monduli near Arusha. 

Before moving to the current premises, in 1971 the Officer Cadets Training Schools was at Kurasini, which now, is the seat of the Police College.  In 1972 the OCS moved to Monduli sharing premises with the then 15 Battalion before moving to its present premises after the completion of a magnificent academy built with the support of our Chinese friends.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Not too long from now Command and Staff Courses to train senior commanders and staff officers will be moved to own premises from the Tanzania Military Academy.  The construction of a Command and Staff College at Duluti is nearing completion.  You will agree with me that after building sizeable training capacity in all fields, it is quite opportune now to take up the matter of establishment of the National Defence College.  Fortunately, our Chinese friends again, accepted our request for support in the construction of this college.  As a result we now have the college whose opening we are celebrating this day. 

Allow me, ladies and gentlemen, to use this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the Peoples’ Republic of China, the Peoples Liberation Army and people of the Peoples Republic of China for this generous support.  Indeed, it is through this assistance that Tanzania has been able to realize her dream.  I am not sure when would we have been able to build this college if we did not get this assistance.

I would like also to use this opportunity to extend special thanks to the contractors and consultant for a job very well done.  Honestly, the buildings are magnificent and facilities up to speed with the current time.  It is making our National Defence College to be a world class institute.  I trust that, the leadership of the college will ensure highest possible levels of maintenance.  Please, heed the Swahili adage of “Kitunze Kidumu and Kitunze Kikutunze”  I expect nothing less from you.    I know you will not falter in this responsibility.

Honorable Minister;
Chief of Defense Forces;
Ladies and Gentlemen;                                                                                     

The role and importance of the NDC needs no overemphasizing. First and foremost, it is the highest training institution of our military.  We did not have it in the past as such we used to send our officers to similar colleges in other countries.  Now that we have our own college here at home that deficit has been resolved.  We will be able to train more people compared to the very few we used to send abroad.  After all it depended upon the number of places offered to us by the colleges.  We used to be offered one or two places and by very few countries.   However, we should continue to send some of our officers abroad in the spirit of maintaining friendship and cooperation with other nations.  Also, it is worthwhile to have exchange programmes of this nature with similar institutions in the world.  It is always useful to learn from the good examples and experience of others.

Ladies and Gentlemen; 

National Defence Colleges worldwide have similar objectives and philosophies.  They are there to advance strategic defence and security interests of their respective nations.  The standards and practice they use in designing the curriculum of the courses taught are international in character.  Of course, there is a conspicuous national bias in the contents of the curriculum because of the fact that its promoting purpose is national interests.  We must aspire and actually do the same.  We should also open the doors to students from other countries as it is done elsewhere.  That is why the purview of the courses should go beyond our national borders and cover regional and global dimension of various issues.

Ladies and Gentlemen; 

At National Defence Colleges besides military personnel, public servants are eligible to attend courses.  This is the case because advancing strategic national defence and security interests is not only the domain of the military but a cross cutting matter involving many players in the nation.  The NDC, therefore, provides an excellent forum where the minds of senior military officers and public servants converge to widen their horizons of knowledge and thinking and develop synergies with regard to promoting national security.  We expect our NDC to facilitate the development of a coordinated vision and unity of purpose in addressing national security issues and strategic challenges facing our country.  I am glad you have started on a current footing.

It is important, therefore, that the NDC must ensure that there is a highly qualified teaching staff and course participants are provided with the necessary tools to enable them learn and acquire the knowledge and skills expected of them. 

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The NDC must aspire to become a regional centre of excellence for security and strategic studies. We have succeeded in this regard with our Officer Cadet training at the Tanzania Military Academy.  The Academy has earned a good name and reputation in the region and beyond.  As a result many officers from the national armies of a number of countries in our region and beyond have been trained there.  I believe we can do the same at this college as well.  Please aspire to maintain and advance the good traditions. 

It is critical that this College produces graduates who will earn international recognition.  As mentioned earlier, NDC education is global in characters, so the graduates from this college must be of world class.

As you all know, the military is an international profession, as such we must always aspire to produce graduates who can perform any where on this planet.   We are doing it at TMA, we can do it here as well.

What is required of you is to put our act together.  Develop a clear vision and action plan with time bound benchmarks.  I promise you continued government and my personal support in the implementation of that vision.  With regard to teaching staff do not hesitate to source from outside if you cannot get one from Tanzania.

Forge working relations and cooperation with other NDCs in the region and beyond will be useful in this regard.   Develop teachers and students exchange programme.  It will be useful in many ways.  I am glad, to learn that you have been involving people from the public and private sectors, including the retired national leaders to share their experience with the students at the college.  That is a good idea.  I promise that on retirement, I will gladly volunteer to join the college in that endeavour.  I am not sure about joining teaching staff on a regular basis.

Distinguished Course participants;

           I congratulate you for being selected to be the first alumni of the National Defence College.  It is an opportunity to be proud of.  I implore you to make good use of this rare privilege.  I am informed that, as it is typical of NDCs, you have been drawn from the defense and security establishments, foreign service and other areas of public service which have a direct bearing on the national security.   Therefore, as pioneers of the course, I challenge you to set the highest possible standards to enable the College to start with a strong footing.  Help the college in building its reputation as a centre of excellence in the region. I know you can do it.  All that is required of you is to work hard with devotion and dedication throughout the Course. 

Honorable Minister;
Chief of Defense Forces;
Commandant of the National Defense College;
Invited Guests;                     
Ladies and Gentlemen;

Before concluding, I want to assure you that the Government will continue to support the long time vision of having an army that is capable of effectively defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the United Republic of Tanzania.  A military outfit that is capable of safeguarding the lives and properties of the people of this country.  We will continue to work together with the leadership of our defence forces both at the Ministry and the TPDF Headquarters for the realization of this vision.  Work is well in progress, to enhance the fire power of our military and the skills of its officers and men.  With regard to the latter we will continue to invest in building new training facilities and improving existing ones.  The establishment of the NDC is a typical example of the translation of this vision in practice.  I know it is a daunting task but we are determined and committed to rise to the challenge.  I have no doubt in my mind that we will succeed.  The political will does exist in plenty and we have dedicated people both at the Ministry of Defence and National Service and at the Defense Forces Headquarters, therefore, nothing can stop us from achieving our dream.  Fortunately, also we have many friends in the world like the Chinese people who are always ready to extend their helping hand to us.  We shall not fail.

Finally, it is now my singular honor and pleasure to declare that the National Defense College of Tanzania and its premiere Course is officially inaugurated. I wish you every success.

Thank you for listening.  

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