The firing of the Malawi Defence Force general Ignacio Maulana by President Peter Mutharika after about two years of his service is a demotion according to the renowned political pundit from the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, Boniface Dulani.
Dulani said it is difficult to understand that Maulana has been moved from being the army commander to head security section at the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA).
“For me, there is no doubt that this is a demotion, you don’t move from being a commander to be someone just focusing on security at NFRA. Unfortunately, we don’t have any information as to what made the President make this decision. He is, of course, the Commander-in-Chief of the Malawi Defence Force. But such appointments cannot just be made anyhow,” Dulani said.
Dulani is of the view that when making changes in such important positions, the President is supposed to give proper information to the wider populace, to avoid negative impressions in the minds of the people.
Already some quarters of society see the move as politics at play.
“What I can say is that this whole episode just speaks on the need to trim the powers of the President in this country because you have the whole President who can make decisions without explaining anything to the wider public as to why he has made that decision.
“At a minimum, we really want the President to make a statement when making decisions as important as this because as people of the country, we need to know and also scrutinise whether we are convinced with his decisions or not,” he said.
Social commentator, Rafiq Hajat, said much as the reasons for the transfer of Maulana are not known, the move is disproportional although the President has used his presidential powers.
Hajat concurs with Dulani, saying there was supposed to be consultations with other sectors like Parliament before making the move.
“He was in the Army meaning that he is conversant with external security, deploying him to look into security matters at NFRA is risky because he might not be conversant with internal security which is more like the policing job and he might not perform well. That is raising concerns to say what is actually happening.
“He could have made consultations with the other arms of government and failure to do so speculates something that probably there is something that is happening that we don’t know,” Hajat said.
But Information Minister Patricia Kaliati downplayed that Maulana’s firing is political, describing the re-deployment as normal.
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