President Peter Mutharika last night fired his fourth Army Commander in five years, raising questions about the security of tenure at the top of the Malawi Defence Forces (MDF).
The firing of General Vincent Nundwe—barely eight months after he replaced General Griffin Spoon Phiri last June—came hours after Mutharika dispatched his press secretary Mgeme Kalilani to announce his rejection of Electoral Reforms Bills and his decision not to fire commissioners of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) as recommended by Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee after the Constitutional Court found them incompetent in their handling of the 2019 presidential election.
Mutharika’s first casualty was General Henry Odillo in June 2014, his successor Ignacio Maulana served for two years before he axed him in July 2016.
Maulana’s replacement Spoon Phiri lasted longer from July 2016 to June 2019 when Nundwe came on board for one of the shortest tenures at the MDF helm in the country’s military history. Andrew Namathanga has replaced Nundwe.
According to a statement released yesterday and broadcast on State-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Nundwe and his deputy General Clement Namangale will be assigned other duties.
Attempts to get a comment from Kalilani last evening proved futile as calls went unanswered despite several attempts.
However, in an interview last night, Nundwe confirmed the news, saying he was leaving the office a happy man.
“My conscience is clear that I performed according to the requirement of the office. I have no regrets for I have done my part,” he said.
Other appointments include: Major General Davis Sesatino Mtachi has been appointed Deputy Commander
Brigadier General Elias Mpaso has been appointed Army Commander (Land Forces), Brigadier General Ian Macleod Chirwa has been appointed Air Force Commander, Colonel Harrison Kandula has been appointed Air Force Deputy Commander while Colonel Desmond Chawanda has been appointed Deputy Army Commander (Land Forces).
During Nundwe’s time in office, MDF soldiers played a key role in ensuring peace and security during Human Rights Defenders Coalition-led demonstrations to force MEC chairperson Jane Ansah to resign for mismanaging the May 2019 presidential election results.