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HomeLaw and orderMalawian soldiers lament tribalism, unfulfilled promises in MDF: Pen Chilima

Malawian soldiers lament tribalism, unfulfilled promises in MDF: Pen Chilima

Malawi Defence Force soldiers (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP) (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Concerned soldiers in the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) have written a memo exposing tribalism and regionalism in the manner promotions, transfers are being done in MDF and a litany of unfulfilled promises happening in the defence force.

The memo, in our possession purportedly addressed to Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima seeking his indulgence in the plight of the soldiers, says there is rampant tribalism and regionalism in the promotion and transfers of officers.

“There is regionalism in MDF. People from Southern Region especially from Lhomwe Belt are given special treatment than any other person (s) from Central and Northern Regions. Again there is tribalism in the MDF. People from other tribes are unfairly treated. MDF has been Lhomwelised,” reads part of the memo.

It says the soldiers are requesting Chilima to “persuade” President Mutharika to act ” with speed” to address the concerns by the soldiers and stop the malpratices in the defence force.

“MDF is supposed to be a professional and non partisan organization. The  present situation in the MDF is not only worrisome but also dangerous to the nation,” say the soldiers in the memo.

The soldiers contend that the developments in MDF have potential to erode professionalism of the defence force and demoralize the soldiers.

“We are aware Sir, that you are being sidelined by the Interim President on important issues affecting our country, but we soldiers have trust and respect in you only,” reads the memo.

Chilima and wife at Likuni Boys ground in Lilongwe on Sunday

According to the memo,  promotions in the MDF are now done based on regional lines, such that 90% of officers from the Southern Region have been promoted than those from other regions.

“On appointments and transfers, it has been noted with dismay that only people from Southern Region are appointed to higher and key positions than people from northern and central regions. People from the two regions are just transferred and posted to various places anyhow without being told the reasons,” says the memo.

The memo has also mentioned four senior soldiers who reached their mandatory retirement in 2016 and 2017, but instead of leaving the defence force, they have been given contracts to continue working for ‘sinister motives’.

” We have information that these officers took part in rigging scheme during 2019 tripartite elections and  also wants to take part in helping DPP to rig the fresh presidential elections slated for 2 July, 2020 hence their illegal contracts,” allege the soldiers in the memo.

It says contracts are given to professionals only such as Lawyers, Teachers, Nurses, Medical Doctors or consultants which the four are not.

“The  privileges they are enjoying such as Cars, fuel worth MK1 million per month each, free accommodation, water, electricity, medical insurance and rations should be accorded to deserving serving officers and not these DPP cadets,” the memo says.

The memo accuses MDF leadership of promising all serving soldiers loans in form of a General Purpose Advance (minimum MK2 million).

“We were told that the loans will be processed within a week. There are heaps of forms in Brigadier General Chaona’s office and not even a single form has been processed. We ask you Rt. Hon Vice president to kindly ask Peter Mutharika, to explain to us if the loans will be disbursed or not,” query the soldiers in the memo.

According to the memo, the unfulfilled loans have rekindled bitter memories the soldiers have of former president Bakili Muluzi who during his reign promised all the soldiers better salaries only to joke about the issue later.

President Mutharika recently made changes to the command chain of the MDF by removing General Nundwe and replacing him with General Namathanga, among several changes.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. TONSE Alliance trying to politicise the army. You do that at your own peril. Army is not an institution you bring into politics. If you want war, try that. Nundwe retired long ago. He was still kept at general. Why didn’t you complain about that.

  2. TONSE Alliance trying to politicise the army. You do that at your own peril. Army is not an institution you bring into politics. If you want war, try that. Nundwe retired long ago. He was still kept at general. Why didn’t you complain about that.

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