There is discontentment in the barracks as soldiers are not pleased with the recent appointment by President Lazarus Chakwera of Major General Paul Phiri as Deputy Commander of the Malawi Defence Forces (MDF), Nyasa Times has established.
According to a leaked WhatsApp conversation that Nyasa Times has seen, Phiri’s appointment is ‘very’ irregular and does not reflect the principals of change that the men in uniform were expecting in the new Tonse government.
Phiri does not have the requisite qualifications including MSCE for the post and he was not the most senior officer to assume the Deputy Commander title according to the hierarchy at the military.
Soldiers who spoke to Nyasa Times said they were not happy with Phiri’s appointment because of what he described as bad leadership principals.
According to military officials, the President was supposed to consult with the defense council but was influenced by tribal consideration before making the appointment.
“Many soldiers are disappointed that the President has been driven to appoint Phiri by a tribal cabal. There is a group that want to advance their political agenda and they are misleading the President,” one MDF source from Kamuzu Barracks said.
Phiri was previously linked to conconting rumours that General Vincent Nundwe was planning to topple the previous Peter mutharika administration that led into Nundwe’s dismissal.
Many soldiers are also not happy with Phiri because Oof “oppressive attitudes” where it is alleged he has been delaying the professional development of fellow officers.
According to other sources, Phiri at one point organised and administered examinations for senior army officers called PROMEX, but out of all the 56 officers that participated, no one passed.
“He set the examinations, typeset the papers, adiministered the examinations himself, marked the papers alone and all the 56 officers that took the examinations failed, what type of person is this? ,” said the source.
The soldiers have since written President Chakwera expressing their disappointment with the appointment of Phiri as the deputy army commander.
A letter that has been circulating on the social media purportedly authored by some soldiers among other things says that the recent appointment of Phiri as deputy commander of the defense forces is a ‘grave breach’ of the trust that the soldiers had with the current administration.
According to the concerned soldiers, Phiri is a ‘beast heartless, cruel, anti-social, selfish, barbaric and a nuisance to soldiers.”
The letter goes to allege that Phiri is an opportunist and was part of a larger conspiracy by some lieutenants who are trying to advance their hidden agendas.
“His appointment will only bring unnecessary fear panic confusion and division among soldiers,” reads part of the letter.
The letter goes to warn Chakwera that the people that recommended the appointment of Phiri are slowly creating the President’s downfall in the 2025 presidential elections.
“If we were Chakwera and his lieutenants we could have recalled how soldiers rallied you and HRDC when in opposition from 2019 to 2020in the streets of the country just to see things change while performing our constitutional mandate,” reads the letter.
On December 23,2020, President Chakwera appointed Phiri as deputy MDF commander in accordance with the powers conferred on him under section 191 (2) of the Malawi Defence Act and Section 161 of the Constitution.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :