Malawi Army, Police in cold war

Hostility and tension is what could best describe the situation at Cobbe Barracks of Malawi Defense Force (MDF) in Zomba where authorities have ordered some of the serving officers to vacate their billets.

Reports indicate that 25 MDF serving officers who are married to police officers have been issued with an ultimatum to leave the army houses by January 31, 2012 as one way of enforcing army discipline and secrets.

The ultimatum was issued by the Commanding Officer of Administration at the Barracks Major Victor Kuyenda last Thursday, January 19.

Army soldiers at the gate of the barracks questioning civilian women visitors

However, MDF Spokesperson Major Kakhuta Banda told Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) that the army has not issued such orders to evict its serving officers from army houses because they are married to police officers.

But some affected female police officers, who are married to solders, have alleged that Major Kuyenda issued the order out of anger after his unroadworthy vehicle was briefly impounded by a female traffic police officer.

The affected female police officers said after the police officer stopped Major Kuyenda’s vehicle she ordered the person driving it to tell the owner to renew insurance, vehicle license and Certificate of Fitness (COF) which were all expired.

This is said to have angered Major Kuyenda who immediately summoned all the 25 army officers living in the barracks and married to female police officers where he ordered them out of the barracks’ houses by January 31.

The commanding officer at the 1MR further told the officers in the face that failure to vacate the houses by the said date they will be  evacuated by force.

Major Kuyenda also directed that after January 31, 2012 no police vehicle should ever drive in and out of Cobbe Barracks.

However, it has been revealed that the development has brought despair to some female police officers whose marriages are unstable.

Some female police officers claim their marriages are on the brink of collapse as their husbands have taken advantage of the eviction order to separate with them.

“My husband has opted to remain behind and move in the single soldiers’ block, he is taking advantage of the order to leave me and I know this will be the end of my marriage because there are already issues that we have been discussing with our marriage counselors,” one female police officer who did not want to be named complained Nyasa Times.

But the development has also stunned some commentators considering that lately the two have been working together like on 20th and 21st July 2011 and January 5th, 2012.

During the said dates solders came to the rescue of police after the law enforcers failed to handle the situation after angry Malawians went into the streets in protests against government’s decaying economy and democracy and street vendors engaged the police in running battles after the Lilongwe City Council authorities attempted to impound their merchandise.

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