I wish to also respond to a commentary by one Mr Moleofe; a retired army chaplain. As a concerned citizen and member of the BDF, I have read with disdain opinion article titled ‘Now is the time for women at BDF’ dated 16 January 2015 by one retired Captain Richard Moleofe. The commentary, which appeared on the ‘Opinion’ column (The Ex Soldier) raises issues which have the potential to mislead members of the public.
As much as the author has a right to air his opinion, it is imperative for him not to mislead the public under the guise of being privy to certain matters pertaining to the BDF. I am of the view that some of the issues raised need to be put in the right perspective.
The writer, amongst other things, avers that the male dominated organisation has applied every trick in the book to delay the arrival of female officers. He then asserts that the Defence Force makes impulsive decisions and does not have a clearly defined code of ethics that addresses the employment of women. He goes on to state that personal feelings of those in leadership define the decision making process and that he has witnessed isolated cases of abuse on a few of the women. This is misleading to say the least.
It is regrettable for an ex-officer who claims to have been an “advocate for women” in the BDF to use the public sphere and denigrate them with cheap below the belt statements such as that ‘one peculiar achievement that most of these women can claim to is marriage’.
I am of the view that The BDF, like any other organisation is bound to support and encourage the marriage institution. Therefore, it is surprising that Mr Moleofe who was supposedly a Christian Chaplain in the same institution finds it wrong for women to join the Holy matrimony. For your information, Rre Moruti, the first women to enlist in the military have excelled in many aspects and now hold the rank of Captain within their eight years of service, a rank you could only ascend to in your twenty years of service and will surely surpass your below par achievements.
It is disheartening for you to mislead the public while you and I know that the BDF is a professional organisation that is accommodative and embraces change. BDF offers equal opportunities to all eligible citizens of Botswana regardless of gender and progression. And this is in line with BDF regulations and government policies which you and I enjoyed before your premature retirement which I and you know that the reasons you advanced to public and fellow soldiers were contrary to truth. Moreover you are also fully aware that the BDF uses a value system that guides members of the Defence Force in their general conduct to include interaction between cadres.
Therefore I am disappointed in you as an ex-officer to play ignorance to the BDF value system which amongst others includes ‘Duty; Integrity; Esprit de Corps and Discipline’. Your assertion that ‘soldiers who do not have women in their militaries often resisted taking orders from female officers or even undermining those junior to them is laughable and ridiculous.’ Indiscipline in the military is not tolerated and perpetrators are accordingly dealt with, as was your case and I need not go there.
The recruitment of women into other ranks of the BDF was a deliberate undertaking which has been planned for by all relevant stakeholders within government. To therefore imply that a strategic decision was undertaken during assault course competition is ridiculous to say the least. This makes me to even doubt further your military knowledge and competency as displayed by your uninformed insinuations and premature retirement.
I wish to free members of the public from your misleading and malicious agenda on the state military. I wish to also assure the public that the BDF takes deliberate decisions in all its undertakings to include the recruitment of female soldiers. For the record, consultations and plans have always been underway to incorporate women into the rank and file of the BDF, a subject that has always been of interest in the military and the nation at large.
Without necessarily appearing to be discrediting you and your utterances, the truth needs to be said; you had no influence, none whatsoever, in the command structure during your time in the Defence Force, therefore your claims border along the lines of a fictitious Hollywood blockbuster movie and should be treated as such.
For an officer of 20 years of service with the BDF, you could only attain the rank of Captain, which is relatively below standards looking at the average progression of people with a similar service and yet you claim to be a military expert. The only highest military course that you attained was a tactical Level Company Commanders’ Battle Course and therefore you cannot attest to be a military subject matter expert.
That being said, I would like to caution the public to treat your commentaries as fallacies as they are not in any way authoritative and do not hold substance but are hate statements made by someone who is a former member of the BDF who has had to prematurely retire. You lack the values that the BDF prides it-self with hence you premature retirement from the military. I pray for your ultimate deliverance before you mislead many with your hatred for the military. Please keep your disgruntlement with the BDF to yourself and try pray hard to God for deliverance considering your past at the BDF.
Lieutenant Godfrey Letsholo
Glen Valley Barracks