Malawi President Mrs. Joyce Banda launched this year’s Poppy week at the New State House in Lilongwe with call to the public to fully assist the retired soldiers who fought in two World Wars.
President Banda said she is aware of the challenges the ex-soldiers are facing and that she will do anything in her powers to support the ex-servicemen while they are still alive today.
She said: “War heroes paid the supreme sacrifice for a better tomorrow for all of us.”
Currently, there are no more soldiers who fought in World War 1 which took place from 1914-1918 but those thought fought in the Second World War which run from 1935-1945 and are still alive are totaling to 29.
Chairperson of the Commonwealth Ex-Service League of Malawi, retired Major General Namwali told the Head of State that currently the Malawi Defence Force is keeping 25 ex-soldiers who fought the Second World War at Cobbe Barracks and the remaining three are being kept at Kamuzu Barracks.
Major General Namwali said the ex-service soldiers are facing a number of challenges ranging from lack of food stuff and good pension arrangements.
Namwale noted that apart from those that the army is keeping, it is estimated that there are over 500 people who took part in the Second World War who are alive but are not necessarily soldiers.
State House Press Officer Brian Banda told Nyasa Times that the President bought the first poppy for K1 million and also donated 200 bags of maize.
The press officer said President Banda made the donation “in order to appreciate the good fight that the ex-soldiers had put in the world wars.”
He explained that President Banda donated 200 bags of maize from her garden in Zomba, 2 bags of fertilizer to each family and 29 solar lamps.
Warrant Officer Class One Suwedi Olela who fought in the Second World War described the war then as challenging.
He thanked President Banda for sparing time to meet the ex-soldiers and launch the fund-raising poppy week.
“It shows respect and the heart to serve,” said Warrant Officer Olela.
Poppy Day is commemorated internationally on second Sunday of November. It was started in 1921 and the proceeds from the sale of Poppy flowers’ are used to support ex-service members and their families who struggle with physical, psychological or financial problems.
Last year, late Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika said during the poppy week launch that he wanted a probe to find out if Britain compensated Malawi soldiers who fought in the two world wars under UK’s Kings African Rifles.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :