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Malawi’s new army commander Namathamanga extols his predecessor for being apolitical

Nundwe (L) and Namathanga (R)

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—New Malawi Defence Force (MDF) commander, General Peter Namathanga, has described  outgoing Commander General Vincent Nundwe, as a commander who defended the rights of people and that during his tenure the MDF was nonpartisan.

 Namathanga made the remarks when Nundwe was officially handing over leadership at Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe on Monday.

On his part, Nundwe said he is leaving the MDF happily knowing that he served Malawi better.

“I am leaving the MDF knowing I have served Malawi better and without grudges. I, therefore, encourage the new Commander, General Peter Namathanga to be diligent when executing his duties,” said Nundwe.

A few days ago, Mutharika dismissed MDF Commander Vincent Nundwe and his deputy Clement Namangale and replaced them with Namathanga as the new Commander and Davis Sesatino Mtachi as his deputy.

A statement signed by Chief Secretary to Government Lloyd Muhara indicated that Nundwe and Namangale would be deployed to other duties.

Nundwe is the fourth MDF commander to be dismissed under President Mutharika’s five-year rule. Others are Henry Odillo, Ignacio Maulana and Griffin-Supuni Phiri.

In June 2014, barely a month after assuming office, Mutharika fired Odillo and appointed Ignancio Maulana and Supuni-Phiri to the positions of commander and deputy commander respectively.

Maulana only lasted for about two years as he was replaced by his deputy – Supuni Phiri, who was dismissed last year to pave the way for Nundwe.

Commenting on the quick changes in the military, Mzuzu University security studies lecturer Eugenio Njoloma described the changes as politically-motivated, something that can affect the performance of the institution.

“What the President has done creates a bad precedence in that anyone who gets appointed realises that he may not last. This has a danger of killing the spirit of patriotism and consequently creates a spirit of patrimonialism in the Generals so as to safeguard their position.

“In the end, it is the appointing authority’s interests that prevail over national interests,” he said in an interview with The Nation.

Njoloma proposes that the only way out is to have security of tenure of office for the Generals and he believes this can enhance independence and efficiency of MDF.

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