THE Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) was recently compelled to do something that, in an ideal situation, it shouldn’t do. It issued a statement trashing reports circulating through some social media sites, of job opportunities there.
It explained that, the military institution had an established official procedure for recruiting youngsters who are eager to become part of the noble national defence cadre.
Using the names of high-ranking officers for whom they purport to be agents, fraudsters sweet-talk desperate youngsters to part with money (read bribes) for facilitating what are naturally dirty deals.
We share TPDF’s misgivings over the trend, which casts it in a negative light. Its statement isn’t new, but the latest in what has become a periodic cycle. Once the dust settles, the fraudsters resurface to prey on a new set of hapless job seekers, prompting TPDF to issue fresh disclaimers.
We are concerned because alongside the Police Force and the Prisons Department, TPDF bears the tag ‘disciplined’, implying that, like the other two, it should be very clean. But the national situation is not entirely ideal.
Over the years, its many components have been polluted by many unethical practices, some of which are criminal in nature. The disciplined forces – constituents of the national security apparatus - haven’t been spared, precisely because the men and women in uniform are mortals like the rest of their compatriots and human beings at large.
They host a few negative elements. Delightfully, however, the Forces have internal mechanisms for grilling suspected wrong-doers in special courts, handing down stiff penalties for those proven guilty, and dismissing the ones deemed incorrigible.
They do that in order to personify the ‘discipline’ attribute of their service, which enjoins its personnel to be role models for the civilian community, as well as to serve as a critical yardstick by which the international community grades Tanzania.
The discipline is assessed and cultivated at the recruitment phase. As volunteers, aspiring full-scale soldiers undertake National Service training as an experimental mechanism that produces winners and losers.
The presumption that some aspirants can use short-cuts to become soldiers is thus wide off the mark. But even for those who are products of the rigid recruitment and training system, consistent monitoring is essential to ensure that, disciplined forces remain thus consistently, and those who falter are duly sanctioned.
Only when the men and women in uniform–whose ultimate boss is President John Magufuli, who doubles as Commander-in-Chief – discharge their duties as exemplary professionals and super patriots can the public be fully reassured that their peace and security are guaranteed.
Meantime, peddlers of falsehoods geared at tarnishing the image of disciplined forces must be tamed DECISIVELY!