Chief of the Namibian Defence Force, Lt Gen John Mutwa, has been missing in action for the past four months due to ill-health, the Windhoek Observer has been told.
A source familiar with the work of the defence force told the Windhoek Observer recently that Mutwa has been battling an undisclosed ailment and has not been seen in public during the past four months.
“Mutwa has always had health problems, but recently it has become worse and he has not been seen in public as a result. If you look at all the state functions held recently, for example, the funeral of the late former Vice President Nickey Iyambo, you will see that Air vice Marshal Martin Pine has been standing in for Mutwa,” the source who did not want to be named said.
An official at the Ministry of Defence Headquarters, who refused to identify himself, told the Windhoek Observer on Wednesday, that the story of Mutwa’s ill-health was not true as he was in office.
“That story is a lie because the chief is currently in office. Please tell your sources to tell you more information,” the officer said before refusing to entertain further questions from the Windhoek Observer.
Defence spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Petrus Shilumbu declined to answer emailed questions from the Windhoek Observer, arguing they were too personal.
“Your questions are too personal and the Ministry will [not] respond,” Shilumbu said in an emailed response.
The 58-year-old Mutwa was born on 23 September 1960 at Mahundu in the Zambezi Region. He took over the reins from Lieutenant General Denga Ndaitwah in December 2013.
He joined the armed struggle for the liberation of Namibia in 1975 under the umbrella of SWAPO Military Wing (PLAN) in the Republic of Zambia. In 1976, he received military training in Kongwa, Tanzania, and completed an Officer Cadet Course in the United Republic of Tanzania in 1978.
Lt Gen Mutwa attended the Party School in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) from 1981 to 1982, and underwent an Intelligence and Counter Intelligence Course in the former Yugoslavia in 1987.
In 1991, he completed an Intelligence and Security Course in the UK before completing a Command and Staff Course in the USA from 1993 to 1994.
In 1995, he successfully completed a Logistics Officers Course in the UK. He also completed the Advance Military Law Course in 1997 with the South African Defence Force at the Directorate Legal Service at the University of Namibia.
In the same year, he completed a Presiding and Prosecutor’s Course at the University of Namibia, as well as a Defence Management Course in South Africa.