Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander General Ignacio Maulana has appealed to President Peter Mutharika to help the Army address its many problems.
General Maulana said on Thursday when Mutharika toured Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe where he held a closed-door meeting with senior officers for about 40 minutes before touring the clinic and corporals’ mess
The MDF has been dogged by serious accommodation problems among others over the years and Nyasa Times reported before that President’s visit that junior ranked officers are demanding cash-strapped government to consider salary hikes of up to 70 percent for the soldiers to match with the rising cost of living.
The soldiers in a circulating mail are asking government to increase their allowance, improve their accommodation and transport facilities and enhance their promotion system and pensions.
Nyasa Times also understands that some soldiers were demanding for their allowances for taking part in the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping mission.
Maulana, however, did not mention the ‘many problems’ which he was referring to in his statement.
In his address, Mutharika who is also Commander-In-Chief of the MDF commended the military for its peace keeping missions and assured “Government’s continued support in ensuring the improved welfare of our men, and women in uniform.”
The President said government has completed the road construction and maintenance works at Changalume Barracks in Zomba.
“I am also pleased to mention that Changalume Barracks is currently being connected to Southern Region Water Board Water Supply network easing the Water Challenges it was experiencing,” he said.
Mutharika also said members of the force should observe the highest standards of discipline in order to portray the Malawi army in good light.
He said discipline is the cornerstone and backbone of any military organisation.
“I would like to urge all members of the Malawi Defence Force to remain disciplined and professional as they have always done. You have done us proud. And let me take this opportunity to thank spouses of our men and women in uniform for the support you offer to them on a daily basis,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika also commended the MDF for the role it plays in the country such as building bridges in times of disaster, distribution of national examinations papers nationwide and protection of forest reserves such as Dzalanyama and Thuma from people who illegally cut down trees.
He also pointed out that MDF played a “heroic role” when Malawi faced its worse disaster during the recent floods.
“The rescue operations MDF carried during this period cannot go without acknowledgement,” said the MDF Commander-In-Chief.
The military handed President Mutharika a gift of an eight millimetre shot gun “strictly for hunting.”
Mutharika said he would indeed use it for hunting, he joked that he can only pull the trigger only if someone annoyed him.
“On a more serious note ,I thank you for this gun which I shall use with the hunting skills I acquired a long time ago when I used to go hunting with my uncle who also had a gun,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika donated K5 million (US$11 111) to the soldiers’ wives towards building a nursery school within the barracks and also donated K10 million (US$22 222) towards a junior officers fund where officers access loans.
The soldiers barred ruling DPP members who wore party memorabilia at the barracks.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :