President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika in Thursday, underscored the importance on the Army to Malawi’s social economic development; he pledged the Government’s full support in improving the military in the country.

He made the remarks when he toured and inspected staff houses and offices at the Cobbe Barracks in Zomba district.

“I have seen most of the infrastructure is in a dilapidated state and we cannot allow that. We need to renovate them for a better welfare of our men and women in uniform,” Mutharika observed.

The President acknowledged the high respect the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) is accorded across the continent in regard to peace keeping operations in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Darfur, and Ivory Coast, where he said they demonstrated high levels of professionalism and discipline.

The President stressed Government’s commitment to improving access roads to military institutions by immediately ordering the construction of a tarmac road from 7 miles to Namadidi Trading Centre in the district.

Muntharika also vowed to start renovating military staff houses and construct new infrastructure for other security agencies such as the police, prison and the immigration departments.

The President announced that Government would start constructing a state of art military hospital in Lilongwe, with air ambulance services. This would improve referral services in all the three regions of the country.

The Malawi Leader said Government within this year’s budget, would recruit more army officers, purchase military equipment for both administration and operations, including a fleet of motor vehicles, which will come into Malawi in two week’s time.

On improving the welfare of spouses of Army officers, the President donated K5 million to assist the spouses to engage in activities that will uplift their households.

Malawi Army Commander, Griffin Supuni Phiri, concurred with the president that Cobbe Barracks, despite being the oldest unit of the Malawi Defence Force, with its history spanning for 129 years, required the renovation of its old and dilapidated structures.

The Army Commander assured the President of the Army’s loyalty and professionalism; he also said that they are always prepared to protect the country.

He said the Army is ready to partake in national development activities such as the construction of roads and bridges.

Cobbe Barracks (First Malawi Rifles:1MR), is the oldest unit of the Malawi Defence Force, whose soldiers fought in both World Wars (WWI from 1914 to 1918 and WWII from 1939 to1945), under the British flag, who were the colonial rulers in Malawi’s political history.

Cobbe Barracks was named in honour of Lieutenant Colonel Cobbe, who commanded the unit from 1967 to 1970.

As part of the tour event, the President was accorded a guard of honour mounted by the First Battalion of the Malawi Rifles, before laying a wreath on the memorial pillar in honour of 17 soldiers who lost their lives at Ashanti in 1900, in Somaliland 1902 to 1904 in the battle of Gumburu.

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