The Malawi Defence Force (MDF), through the 94th Battalion of Kamuzu Barracks, Tuesday marched through the streets of the capital Lilongwe to commemorate its Freedom of the City status.
Led by Major Blaise Saenda, Commanding Officer (CO) the officers and soldiers, in their colourful ceremonial red tunics and black red stripped trousers, and other sections in full fatigue (battle regalia), they were met by the city’s Chief Executive, Kelvin M’mangisa, who said it has always been traditional for the defence force to march through the city annually.
Maj. Saenda, said the MDF is honoured by this occasion, and that his forces were dedicated to continued peace and stability in the city and the Malawian borders at large.
“This is the work that we do, to ensure citizens enjoy peace and to support to civilian authority. We have been marching for many years in the city to emphasize that we are available following the recognition of our presence by the city authorities,” said the Major.
M’mangisa said the city would love to provide its citizens, and not only the soldiers, with all the necessities to fully experience their full potential.
“To do this, we must have security. The MDF has been our partner for long in development as you know you cannot economically rise without being secure. The infrastructure and facilities that we enjoy is as a result of this relationship,” he revealed.
The MDF and the City Council have also been engaged in partnerships of many kinds, where the defence force has provided assistance when in need within the city borders.
MDF is known for its high discipline in Africa and beyond, and its soldiers have not been involved in conflict with citizens of the city for a long time now, showing that the civil-military relations (CMR) that now exist through CMR initiatives, amongst them periodical publications of its activities in a widely circulated magazine, Msilikali, that has helped the people of Lilongwe city and beyond understand the role of the citizen in uniform.
The troops marched from the Civic Offices in the city around Old Town through Shoprite and back to the starting point where speeches marked a high note. Colours (flags of recognition for the military) were displayed throughout.