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MDF ponders revising peace-keeping policy

Malawi Defence Force (MDF) has said it is pondering on having a peace-keeping policy that will, among other things, indicate allowances which soldiers are entitled to while on United Nations (UN) peace-keeping assignments.

A delegation from MDF comprising senior and junior officers, is in Zambia to learn how other countries manage their peace-keeping operations.

The group, dubbed the United Nations Peace-keeping Allowances Board, has also visited Tanzania and Rwanda.

Currently, there are no guidelines on how much Malawian soldiers are supposed earn while on such UN missions, an issue which concerns the soldiers.

MDF Chief of Plans and Policy, Major General Alick Mhone, who led the delegation to Zambia, said they will come up with a proposal on the soldiers’ earnings when on UN mission.

“The major problem might have been that our troops were not very much aware of what was due to them, so by coming here, we want to learn. When we get back home, we are going to send management proposals for approval. We will communicate to all soldiers what they are going to be getting. At the moment, there is no such blueprint,’’ he said.

Mhone said the other problem being experienced is that the UN links troops to equipment allowances.

“For example, if a vehicle carries 20 soldiers and that day the vehicle is down, they say the soldiers who were supposed to be ferried by the vehicle do not have to be paid because they have not worked,’’ he said.

Malawi sends soldiers and own equipment to UN missions.

UN pays the government troops and equipment allowances depending on the condition of the equipment.

Malawi has deployed 850 soldiers to the Democratic Republic of Congo and according to Mhone, once the policy is in place, a team will communicate to the soldiers in foreign land.

In Zambia, the soldiers receive their allowances within two months after completion of their tour of duty whereas in Malawi, the soldiers receive their dues in phases and depending on the availability of the finances as paid by the UN.

In Zambia, the government gets 50 percent of the troop allowances and the remainder is given to the troops. In Malawi, the soldiers receive $1,100 each.

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