Malawi President Joyce Banda on Saturday, April 6, 2013, urged all members of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) “to remain disciplined and professional as they have always done”.
President Banda, who is also the Commander-In-Chief of the MDF, made the appeal when she officially presented of colours to the 11th Battalion, Malawi Rifles, Chilumba Barracks held at Civo Stadium, Lilongwe.
“Our Defence Force has been a great pride in many respects both here at home and beyond,” said President Banda.
“ The Commissioning of the 11th Battalion, therefore, could not have come at any better time than now when the world over, demand for Defence Forces’ contribution towards peace and stability is on the increase.
“Apart from their traditional combat functions, military forces are from time to time called upon to perform various peace support and humanitarian operations,” said the President, adding that the army assists Civil Authorities during natural disasters or any other emergencies “and Malawi Defence Force is no exception”.
She noted that over the past years, Malawi army has been involved in various UN peace support operations in a number of countries such as Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Liberia, and Ivory Coast. She said Malawian officers in these countries have been commended for demonstrating high standards of discipline and professionalism.
The President said one of the ways to ensure capacity building so that the Defence Force maintains its character and professionalism is through the growth of military units such as the commissioning of 11th Battalion.
The President observed the Malawi Defence Force is facing numerous challenges due to the prevailing economic conditions. She, however, said her government is making efforts to promote the welfare of “our men and women in uniform” and ensure that they accomplish the various programmes and projects the Malawi Defence Force has embarked on.
“I am pleased to note that government has completed the construction of 100 soldier’s houses at Chilumba Barracks. The road construction and maintenance work at Changalume Barracks is near completion while the Engineers Regiment is in its formative stages at the old KFCTA in Kasungu District.
“At the Nsanje Army Camp, Government is constructing modular blocks to replace the dilapidated camp housing infrastructure. The construction works are in the final stages,” she said.
The President commended the MDF for maintaining good relations under the various Joint Permanent Commissions on Defence and Security.
She said these arrangements ought to be encouraged since they provide a platform for our military personnel to interact with their counterparts in order to share experiences and best practices in their military careers.
“As a country, we ought to continue cherishing such cooperation at all times,” she said.
Defence Minister Ken Kandodo said Chilumba became an Army Camp in 1970 before attaining a Garrison status in 1985.
During the event, President Banda also bestowed the highest honour on General Henry Odillo, who is credited for aborting a constitutional crisis when the late President Bingu wa Mutharika died last April and allowing the then Vice President Banda to be sworn in as Mutharika’s replacement.
Cronies of the former President and former cabinet ministers had attempted to usurp power through unconstitutional means, which Odillo turned down.
Other events included military parade and military display in form of a “Mock Attack”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :