President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has underscored the importance on the Army to the country’s social economic development pledging his government’s full support in improving the military in the country.
He made the remarks on Thursday when he toured and inspected staff houses and offices at Cobbe Barracks.
“I have seen most of the infrastructure is in a dilapidated state and we cannot allow that. We need to renovate them for a better welfare of our men and women in uniform,” Mutharika observed.
The President acknowledged the high respect the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) is accorded across the continent as regards peace keeping operations in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur and Ivory Coast, where he said they demonstrated high levels of professionalism and discipline.
He stressed his government’s commitment to improving access roads to military institutions by immediately ordering the construction of a tarmac road from 7 miles to Namadidi Trading Centre.
Muntharika vowed to start renovating military staff houses and construction of new infrastructure for other security agencies such as the police, prison and the immigration departments.
The President announced that government would start constructing a state of art military hospital in Lilongwe with aerial ambulance services in order to improve referral services in all the three regions of the country.
The Malawi Leader said government within this year’s budget would recruit more army officers, purchase military equipment for both administration and operation including a fleet of motor vehicles which will be coming into the country in two weeks time.
On improving the welfare of spouses of Army Officers, the President donated K5 million to assist the spouses engage in activities that will uplift their households.
Malawi Army Commander, Griffins Supuni Phiri concurred with the president that Cobbe Barracks despite being the oldest unit of the Malawi Defence Force with its history spanning for 129 years, required renovation of its old and dilapidated structures.
The Army Commander assured the President of the Army’s loyalty and professionalism adding that they are always prepared to protect the country.
He said the Army is ready to partake in developmental activities in the country such as the construction of roads and bridges.
Cobbe Barracks (First Malawi Rifles:1MR) is the oldest unit of the Malawi Defence Force which fought both first world war from 1914 to 1918 and second world war from 1939 to1945, under the British flag, our colonial masters in the political history.
Cobbe Barracks was named in honour of Lieutenant Colonel Cobbe who commanded the unit from 1967 to 1970.
As part of the event, the president was accorded with a guard of honour mounted by the First Battalion of the Malawi Rifles before laying a wreath on a memorial pillar in honour of 17 soldiers who lost their lives notably at Ashanti in 1900, in Somaliland 1902 to 1904 in the battle of Gumburu.
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