Intelligence brief: Tanzanian President Hassan appoints Gen Mkunda new CDF, Lt Gen Othman takes over CoS post from Lt Gen Mkingule who has been 'demoted' to ambassador
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has appointed Leutenant General Jacob John Mkunda as the new army chief.
Mkunda, who was promoted to the rank of General, was serving as Chief of Operations and Training, Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF).
Mkunda takes over from General Venance Mabeyo who has completed his term of service in the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces.
Meanwhile, President Hassan promoted Major General Salum Haji Othman to Lieutenant General and appointed him as new Chief of Staff of the TPDF.
Prior to the appointment, Othman was Commissioner for Research and Military Development at the ministry of the defence and national services.
He succeeds Leutenant General Mathew Mkingule, who has been appointed as an ambassador.
Any prior clues?
Worth noting that, Ujasusi Blog's own Evarist Chahali had on May 24 last year predicted about Leutenant General Othman's chances of becoming a CoS.
Leutenant General Mkingule was seen as a potential successor to General Mabeyo.
What went wrong?
From being the second highest TPDF officer to becoming an ambassador is obviously a demotion as is the fact that both General Mkunda and Leutenant General Othman were Leutenant General Mkingule's juniors, and their promotions essentially meant he was passed over by President Hassan.
One possible reason for the President to have looked over her former CoS for promotion to CDF is the reportedly deteriorating security situation along the Tanzania- Mozambique border.
Just yesterday, Ujasusi Blog reported that on June 19 terror group ISIS-affiliated insurgents operating in Mozambique attacked Michenjele village in the southern region of Mtwara killing 4 people and burned houses. Also, there was another attack on June 22 which led to several casualties.
Would the new appointments improve the situation along the Tanzania-Mozambique border?
The short answer is, unlikely though not impossible.
The long answer is, fighting terrorism requires more than having a strong army. While the highly politicised Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service (TISS) is required to improve its counterterrorism capabilities, there is an urgent to take action against corrupt elements withing the Immigration Service.
Additionally, President Hassan's government needs to address a disturbing fact that the East African nation is one of the continent's main drug trafficking hubs.
The link between terrorism and other related crimes, such as drug trafficking, is evident and has been recognized by the United Nations Security Council
More presidential appointments coming soon?
Definitely. It is known that the Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro is retiring soon, possibly in July, while it is a matter of when, and not if, TISS chief Diwani Athumani will be replaced.