President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday swore in new Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Jacob John Mkunda.
He is replacing retiring General Venance Mabeyo.
During the event, President Hassan, who is the Commander in Chief of armed forces, also presided the swearing in of the Chief of Staff (CoS) Lieutenant General Salum Haji Othman.
Speaking during the live televised event, the Head of State assured outgoing CDF Mabeyo of another job after leaving the TPDF roles, stressing he is still smart and energetic.
“As I was speaking to you yesterday, you are ending your service of over 40 years while still looking young. Therefore, we will continue appointing you in different positions,” she said.
“Before the end of today, Chief Secretary (Hussein Kattanga) will advertise your newly assigned job. Therefore, we thank you very much, congratulate and ask you to continue serving the nation. Thank you,” she said.
Later on in the day General Mabeyo was appointed the Chairman of Board of Directors for Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA).
She commended and urged the newly sworn in TPDF top leaders (General Mkunda and Lieutenant General Othman) to start where General Mabeyo had ended.
“I know there is no leader in the army assuming offices carrying personal agendas as we do in the government. You are supposed to start where your predecessor has ended and move forward,” she said.
“I will provide you with more instructions. For today, let it be enough to congratulate and ask you to help us and work in a similar spirit of General Mabeyo. Start where he has ended, congratulations,” concluded the President.
Defence and National Services minister, Dr Stergomena Tax said she had no worries with the newly appointed leaders as she had confidence with them.
“You all know your responsibilities, the ministry will continue executing its responsibilities to ensure TPDF remains strong in implementing its duties,” she said.
She thanked General Mabeyo for his outstanding service, assuring him that projects started during his leadership would be continued by his predecessors.
Speaking on the new CDF, his schoolmate at Ruvu Secondary School, Mr Nyangi Egubo who completed studies in 1989 said during that time General Mkunda was in Form Two.
Mr Egubo said at school, General Mkunda was known as JJ before his first names Jacob John, noting that he was a leader in the students’ government.
According to him, during that period General Mkunda demonstrated his argumentation capabilities and confidence on what he believed.
“He (General Mkunda) was a good football player of the school team. He represented us in regional and national students’ competitions,” he said.
Furthermore, he said General Mkunda had high convincing powers whose statements were believed and followed by other students.
The appointment of the two TPDF leaders were announced on Wednesday public notice signed by the director of presidential communications, Ms Zuhura Yunus.
Before the appointment, Mr Mkunda served as the TPDF Chief of Operations and Training, while Lieutenant General Othman has been promoted from the Commissioner for Research and Military Development at the ministry of the Defence and National Services.
According to the statement, former CoS, Lieutenant General Mathew Edward Mkingule had been appointed ambassador.