Soldiers from Malawi Defence Force (MDF) serving on UN peace keeping mission in Democratic Republic of Congo are protesting angrily against government decision to drastically cut their United Nations sponsored allowance.
Chief of military operations Valentino Phiri confirmed soldiers are not happy with the government decision to cut allowances from the UN to fund other military operations both back in Malawi and abroad.
The government of Malawi provides the soldiers and the UN is responsible for their allowances which are wired direct to the government purse upon completion of their assignment.
“There is welfare problem within the military. We know the economy is not doing well back home but you can see the terrain our soldiers are working,” said Phiri.
The army has taken a contingent of Malawi media both from the public and private for them to see the difficult conditions the soldiers are in and dispel rumours from some soldiers who claimed the military is embezzling their allowances.
It has however transpired that the military was using some of the allowances for other operations in view of huge government budget cuts affecting all government departments.
Chairman of parliamentary committee on defence Willet Kalonga who is also in the DRC said he would lobby to parliament for more budgetary allocation to the military.
“The government should ensure that our troops are equipped. As you can see here, the forest is thick, vision is up to five metres they are in bad terrain,” he said.
Deputy defence minister Malison Ndau who is also in north Kivu with the troops said the government will always support the troops.
Soldiers stay in DRC for the UN mission for year up from eight month.
Military officials are however reluctant to disclose how much they pay soldiers when they finish their mission nor could they say by how much the allowances have been reduced.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :