By: Velly Best Mpopelang
BDF should give Form 3 and Form 5 students the opportunity to join Botswana Defence Force (BDF) regardless of their points. There are many roles within BDF which can be performed by form 3 leavers as we have witnessed over the years when JC holders and PSLE were recruited into the force.
Like I have mentioned above, there are various jobs or careers within BDF which can be performed better by both form 3 and form 5 leavers who did not meet the requirements for vocational or tertiary levels.
There are fighting units within the force where these boys and girls can excel if given the chance. Some units such as Commando, Infantry Units, Artillery units, Suppliers and Force Training unit can absorb these talents. They can be absorbed into job roles like Physical Training Instructors, Chefs, Drivers, Tank Operators, Gunner, Snipper, Riffle Man, Truck drivers, Plumbers, Carpentry & Joiners just time list a few.
We have seen the best Armies in the world recruit various talents into their different units and these boys and girls became some of the best soldiers ever better than those who are said to be academically gifted.
We must learn and benchmark from the best countries. We know Botswana holds some joint exercises with US and British Army and some of their instructors are school drop outs who teach our boys & girls all what is needed to be the best soldier in the world.
If they can do it at the highest level, why can we not do it especially where we are not involved in any wars or operations except poaching and fighting crime with local Police Services?
Why are we denying some of our boys & girls the chance to be the best soldiers or do what they love most? Let us recognise their talents and skills and give them the opportunity to unleash their talents.
This is not the issue of those countries are involved in wars, the fact is, they know everyone has their own talent and they want to be inclusive. Who could have thought women joining the BDF would do better join the BDF? We have seen our best female pilots so far coming from BDF. Surely JC holders do have a future in the army.
I know some people will say they should go to brigades to further their careers, I agree; some should go but not everyone will go to brigade or vocational schools. There’s a process in the army where soldiers are trained in various skills and are send to vocational schools to learn those skills such as vehicle mechanics, plumbing, electricians, Chefs and clerks. So it is not like they will not have the opportunity to further their knowledge.
With the high number of unemployment, BDF and the government should rethink about their recruitment processes. We have to address this issue as a matter of urgency. BDF was build by people who were primary school leavers and some were JC, just 20 years ago they started to focus only on GCSE leavers. Surely if we can vote for legislators who are JC leavers, then we can have a riffle man who did form 3.
I hope the upcoming parliament will address unemployment robustly without fear or favour. . We must act now.