The United States (US) military says its doors are open for the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) to seek support on improving governance, including fighting corruption and will also entertain proposals for transfer of modern military ware.
The pledge comes against a background of involvement of MDF in Malawi’s biggest corruption scandal, Cashgate. Several suspected fraudulent transactions were allegedly channelled through MDF.
Deputy head of US military’s Africa Command (Africom), Lieutenant General Steven Hummer made the remarks at Africom’s headquarters at Kelly Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany during a press briefing organised to interface with a group of visiting journalists from Malawi and Botswana.
Hummer, who hailed the Malawi-US military cooperation and its African ally’s peacekeeping engagements on the continent, also pledged to consider Malawi’s requests for increased support in weaponry.
He also said America was ready to supply the Malawian military with modern equipment from recent missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, but said the possibility depends on requests for formal talks on the matter.
Recently, Malawi hosted the southern accord regional exercise and the Epic Guardian exercises, but Hummer said the move should not be misinterpreted as US attempts to tip the balance of power in the region.
MDF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Francis Kakhuta-Banda, accompanying the group of journalists on the five-day trip, said the MDF command structure will discuss the offer of the support from Africom.
Earlier, Africom’s senior enlisted leader Command Sergeant Darrin Bohn cited Malawi’s hosting of the first ever Senior NCO Academy in sub-Saharan Africa, which MDF plans to make a regional course of excellence, as a shining example of MDF’s growing professionalism.
—Matonga is reporting from Bonn, Germany.