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Namibia spends 3.5% of GDP on military acquisitions

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Namibia has constantly kept its military expenditure at 3.5% of the total Gross Domestic Product, (GDP) of the country in a bid to maintain peace and thwart any possibilities if insurgents that could arise.

Most of the money is spent on the acquisition of hardware and training of the military personnel which is normally sent to Zimbabwe, Russia and China for that purpose.

In actuality expenditure by the military in Namibia has been maintained at R2.5 billion and R3b [US$400 million] in the past three years with most of the artillery and military hardware being imported from Russia, china and Israel.

Military expenditures includes all current and capital expenditures on the armed forces, including peacekeeping forces; defense ministries and other government agencies engaged in defense projects; paramilitary forces, if these are judged to be trained and equipped for military operations; and military space activities.

In December last year the Namibian Government acquired a state of the art naval ship from Russia with ability to carry 250 military personnel on board and also has a state of the art hardware on board for the purpose of safeguarding their naval space.

Research shows that the acquired naval ship  is equipped with 37 millimetres naval gun and two 14.5 millimetres machine guns. It also has deadweight of 2500 tonnes and carry 2by 12 containers of 24 tonnes, six armed personnel carriers of 12 tonnes each and at least 150 people on board.

Minister of Defense in the Southern African country, Nahas Angula confirmed that Namibia acquired the naval ship from Russia at an estimated coast of about US$400 million (approximately) R3.2b).

“We have been acquiring artillery from Russia and china in the past but in most cases we do not have to go public on the type of machinery that we acquire for the military because of the security risk associated with such issues,” Angula said.

According to Angula the military expenditure which is expected to remain stagnant or increase is also supposed to cover civil defense, reserves and auxiliary forces, police and paramilitary forces, dual-purpose forces such as military and civilian police, military grants in kind, pensions for military personnel, and social security contributions paid by one part of government to another.

However Angula argues that although the government has consistently spent on acquisition of complex hardware for the military the country does not live under fear from terror threats or insurgency.

Within the on-going budget which lapses in March this year the country has also acquired an electromagnetic chopper from Defense industries in South Africa although the price of the acquisition is still being played low.

However research on the ground show that the Chopper which has since been delivered to Namibia will be used by the Namibian special field force for safeguarding the country’s sovereignty.

A close source within the Namibian army commanding unit also revealed that the country has always acquired military hardware from china since 2002 when the Government nipped a planned coup in its bud.

The coup which has now gotten to be known as the Caprivi Succession was planned by insurgents in the north eastern part of the country which borders Zambia where a group of the minority tribe in that area wanted to break away from the mainland.

“As a country we have enjoyed lasting peace since attaining independence 22 years ago but we continue to spend on acquisition of hardware. It is also interesting to note that by law in Namibia military acquisitions are not advertised or tendered or just done by the government in silence. In most cases this is done to maintain the security levels of the military high and also not to cause unnecessary cries from the public who would view the Government as spending too much money on the military while poverty continues to rise,” he said.