I was trying to finger-out why Malawi Defense Force (MDF) Commander General Henry Odillo was systematically chosen by Nyasa Times editorial management as 2012 man of the year.
Throughout this process, I have been using my military back ground experience to reach the better conclusion of which now am proud to say I find the real answer for that nomination.
Historically, the Malawi Defense force has ever been characterized both domestically and internationally as one of the best Army in the world in terms of professionalism. I think Malawians and the international community still remember the events of Operation Bwezani in which the Malawi Army soldiers professionally disarmed the Para-military wing Malawi Young Pioneer (MYP) which was posing threat to Malawi Defense Force. Many thought that during this operation Malawi Army will take over the country politically, but this was amicably proved wrong by the professional conduct of the Military.
Similar situation/temptation occurred to the Nyasa Times named person of the year general Odilo when he was given a hard political substance to swallow during the demise of the former president Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika.
We learn from the report by the commission of inquiry that General Odilo intelligently defended the Constitution by indicating without fear that Malawi Army is not a political entity hence can’t indulge into political issues in the country but instead, he sincerely pledged to offer maximum security when deemed so.
According to the report (which I have gone through thoroughly) Odilo displayed his military intelligence by refusing such an illegal offer. Thus as X-Soldier I salute you general for the position you took to ran away from this temptation and I believe Nyasa Times foresee your professionalism prior to the commission’s report.
What general Odilo did and the entire Military forces in the country should be saluted by all Malawians because it shows how professional the MDF is.
I pen off by once again giving a General-salute of great honor to general Odilo for his matured response to the situation.
*Writer of this article is MDF fresh X-Soldier Staff Sargent S/SGT Kaisi