MDF chief tells off politicians
By Deogratias Mmana
Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander Vincent Nundwe has warned politicians and government to stop politicising MDF for their personal interests.
Among others, Nundwe warned politicians to stop interfering with MDF by promising promotions to soldiers and further cautioned soldiers to stop seeking positions from politicians.
He further advised Office of the President (OPC) to stop the tendency of writing letters of appointment ordering MDF to promote officers.
He said there was a time this tendency was common.
Nundwe also said it is not proper to promote soldiers based on tribal or regional lines, saying Malawians are one and promotions should go to the deserving ones.
He said MDF has its criterion that is followed for promotions.
He was speaking yesterday in Salima during the commissioning of 151 officer cadets who have now become lieutenants and second lieutenants and the passing out of 1,065 recruits who have now become private soldiers.
President Lazarus Chakwera presided over the ceremony.
“OPC was writing us letters ordering us to promote officers. That is not proper. We will not accept that,” Nundwe said.
He added: “There are some officers who also lobby for positions from politicians because they come from same areas or for other reasons. It is not proper to earn a promotion based on where one comes from. From Marka in Nsanje to Kameme in Chitipa, we are all Malawians and zomati uyu ndiye wathu [this one belongs to our side] is not right. We will not accept that.”
Nundwe further warned the public to avoid spoiling the minds of soldiers by, among others, posting irresponsible stuff on social media.
He was referring to a recent post from one pastor that said the soldiers were preparing to stage protests.
Other false reports, Nundwe said, were that the soldiers wanted to arrest him and that they wanted to topple government.
“I can only describe as very rubbish to say that soldiers want to topple government. We have been here since independence and we cannot topple government.
“Let us not bring conflict in this country. Let us thank God that there is peace here. Do not bring chaos. We cannot allow genocide in this country just because some politician wants a position,” Nundwe said.
Chakwera urged the new officers and soldiers to serve their country with discipline, courage, sacrifice and integrity.
He further urged the officers and soldiers to jealously guard the legacy and reputation of MDF, a legacy which he said has taken decades to build.
“All I expect from you is to stay true to your mandate, stay true to our nation’s citizens, stay true to our nation’s Constitution and stay true to our nation’s flag,” Chakwera said.
He further said: “I know that doing so involves giving up so much more than we can ever repay. But for all the sacrifices you have made and all the sacrifices you are going to make as your contribution to building a new Malawi, rest assured that you are the pride of a great nation and have the thanks for a grateful President.”
Chakwera assured MDF of his government’s commitment to address the operational challenges so that his administration’s drive to modernise the military is not disrupted.
Second Lieutenant David Shumba emerged the best overall officer and received a sword of honour and a scroll while Second Lieutenant Samson Katani became second and received a scroll.
The best recruit was Francis Salimu and overall best female recruit was Michelle Mtambo.