In the face of the growing restive security situation in the East and central African regions, the move by Tanzania to launch a military college in Dar es Salaam to offer advanced training to Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) and soldiers from other countries in the region is a strategic move that is most welcome.
The emergence of radical fighters in Somalia, for example, poses a big security threat in the wider East Africa. And the ongoing wars in the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo are just as likely to have a ripple effect that the region should be prepared to counter.
Among other things, we expect the college to transform the TPDF into a modern and efficient outfit and to improve its contribution to peace building efforts and maintenance of law and order in the Great Lakes region and elsewhere in the world.
President Jakaya Kikwete launched the facility on Monday on a high note. It can accommodate 40 students. Courses to be offered at the facility include security planning and a master’s degree in strategic studies and peace studies—key components in any modern army. According to President Kikwete, we have the makings of a quality institution that will also offer training to soldiers from other countries in the Great Lakes Region. The college is expected to cut costs that Tanzania has incurred in sending its senior officers to similar facilities abroad.
Better still, graduates from the college will receive their training in an environment similar to what they are likely to encounter. This should boost their efforts to become a highly advanced military machine that secures our borders from all manner of threats.
But the college faces one major challenge—to strive to raise the quality of the training to take into account an ever more complex national, regional and global landscape. The forces that shape our defence and security environment are no longer limited to a handful of cross-border activists. They include terrorist attacks that grow by the day, given the geopolitics that define the way we live.