Clad in full military gear, President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera became the first President of the Republic to witness a field military training for the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Soldiers in the thick bushes of Luwawa Forest in Mzimba on Thursday, June 3, 2021, drawing praises from a retired soldier and former security aide to the immediate past President Peter Mutharika.
President Chakwera, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Malawi Defence Force, was accompanied by MDF Commander General Vincent Nundwe and other high-ranking MDF during the tour. The President told the soldiers he had decided to visit them in training to offer them moral support and encouragement.
“I also want to send a strong message to Malawians that as President, I have greater trust and confidence in our men and women in uniform and that all Malawians must have trust and confidence in our soldiers,” he said after the visit.
In reaction to the President’s visit, former President Mutharika’s security aide, Paulosi Norman Chisale commended President Chakwera for “providing the much-needed moral support to the MDF soldiers as they continue to carry out their constitutional duty of protecting the country from foreign aggression and their valuable involvement in social and economic development work across the country”.
A retired soldier himself, Norman Chisale said that the President’s visit was a demonstration of genuine political will at the highest level of government, which will go a long way in boosting the morale of soldiers not only at the training site but across the country.
Speaking in an interview in Lilongwe on Thursday, the former presidential security aide noted that this was the first time a Head of State had visited soldiers in military combat training in Malawi and this was in itself “historical”.
He expressed optimism that the President’s gesture had instilled a greater sense of confidence in MDF soldiers. He said that it would therefore significantly enhance their commitment to not only protecting the country from direct and indirect foreign threat but also their noble participation in maintaining peace and stability in the SADC region and on the entire continent.
“Let’s detach this visit from the usual politicking; our soldiers need such a morale booster and the visit by the President could not have come at a better time than now when he is advocating for a New Malawi where everyone enjoys equal opportunities.
“What this visit meant was that the valuable contribution and sacrifices that our soldiers make in defending and developing this country do not go unnoticed by the Highest Office in the land. I would encourage the President to frequently undertake such visits, especially that he in the Commander-in-Chief of the Malawi Defence Force,” said Chisale, urging all Malawians to respect soldiers and appreciate the security role that they play in saving lives.
President Chakwera visited Luwawa Forest where 1,390 basic soldiers are being trained together with 20 Platoon Commanders and 29 Company Commanders. The Head of State later toured the MDF battle group artillery gun line and the military defensive position trenches.