Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander, General Vincent Nundwe has called on politicians to stop interfering in the operations of the military.
Speaking on Saturday during a passing-out parade at Malawi Armed Forces College in Salima, presided over by President Lazarus Chakwera, Nundwe also expressed concern that at times the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has usurped functions of the Defence Council to dictate promotions of certain individuals in the military.
Said the MDF Commander: “Some of you lobby for promotions from politicians. We must stop this. As for you politicians, don’t entertain these people. As MDF we do not do politics, we are here to serve all Malawians.
“We have had cases where OPC would write MDF to have certain people appointed in certain ranks. That is not right. That is the function of the Defence Council where the President and the minister are also members. Do not divide us.”
Nundwe’s remarks followed his official statement after he asked to be allowed to address some issues “for all Malawians to hear”.
He reminded the gathering that MDF is an institution that is governed by the law and is supposed to serve all people in the country.
The MDF Commander sounded frustrated from the word go as he also lamented a growing tendency for people to post fabricated stories about MDF on social media, such as allegations that soldiers are planning to take over government.
He described these acts as “foolish” and an attempt to destabilise the country for political reasons.
Said Nundwe: “Such statements are false, there are no such intentions in the MDF. Someone even posted on social media that soldiers had locked me up? For what? If people want power, they must not use the name of MDF. We do not do politics, we are here for everyone.
“We must not incite anarchy…we must cherish our peace. I was in Rwanda during the genocide and I saw how bad it was, therefore, I cannot support a coup.”
In his speech, Chakwera, who is also MDF Commander-in-Chief, reminded soldiers to remain true to their call.
Said the President: “I expect you to stay true to your mandate, stay true to our nation’s citizens, stay true to our nation’s Constitution, and stay true our nation’s flag. I know that doing so involves giving up so much more than we can ever repay, including sacrifices made by your own families.
“But for all the sacrifices that you have made and all the sacrifices you are going to make as your contribution to building a new Malawi, rest assured that you are the pride of a great nation and have the thanks for a grateful President.”
Chakwera, adorned in military gear which was not only a centre of attraction at the event but also trended on social media, assured MDF that under his administration, soldiers will receive the necessary support to enable them deliver on their mandate.