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Malawi - Military Personnel

The armed forces, include the MDF and the police. The total strength of the MDF is about 5,300. The implementation of compulsory military service is for a period of 2 years. The Police number 1,500 officers.

On 01 December 1993, members of the Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) - the armed wing of President for Life Bandas single party regime - shot and killed two enlisted members of the MDF over disagreements at a local bar in Mzuzua major city in the northern region of the country. The incident marked the immediate cause of the rebellion of the enlisted personnel in Malawi. The matter was immediately reported to Moyale Barracks, which is located within Mzuzu City. Accordingly, the defense force headquarters in the capital city of Lilongwe was informed, and soldiers an all barracks throughout the country keenly waited for immediate response from the generals. Without orders or leadership from the officers corps, the enlisted personnel took up arms and ammunition and started the fight against the MYP bases in Mzuzu and the northern region as a whole. In Malawi, there is mutual distrust and a large knowledge gap between its officers and noncommissioned officers. In the past, Malawian officers and NCOs had a functional working relationship. Over time, however, more officers and fewer NCOs were being educated. Officers began doing everything themselves instead of sharing leadership responsibilities with their NCOs, because they didnt trust them to solve problems or to think critically.

The MDFs promotion policy is among the challenges Malawian NCOs are facing. Many individuals are promoted based on reasons not related to their work, while NCOs who are deploying on peacekeeping operations and leading soldiers are often overlooked. The situation has contributed to the NCO corps lack of motivation.

Personnel policies that are in place are often unclear, making them difficult to enforce. Women, for example, have not been in the MDF long the force only began recruiting them in 1999 and their roles are not well-defined. Without enforceable policies in place, women face challenges in every direction as they try to do their jobs in a male-dominant culture,

Though changing this will not be easy, the countrys leadership has recognized that NCOs are the key to a professional military and that a military must invest in its NCOs to set itself up for a successful future. Malawi has become the first country to participate in the new African Military Education and Training program, and is now host to the first NCO academy in Africa.

The Malawi Defence Force (MDF) conduct an annual recruitment exercise for suitably qualified young men and women wishing to pursue a career in the force as regular soldiers. The exercise is conducted in all the districts and selected candidates shall undergo an intensive six months basic Military training at Malawi Armed Forces College (MAFCO) in Salima.

In March 2015 the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) announced to the general public that there were some corrupt individuals who are posing as MDF soldiers and collecting money from job seekers on the pretext that they would be recruited as soldiers. According to MDFs public information officer Lieutenant Colonel Francis Kakhuta-Banda said the military has not embarked on any recruitment exercise. Banda said some heartless and unscrupulous fraudsters posing as MDF officers are duping the general public of money by claiming that they are recruiting soldiers. In some instances victims have been contacted via phones by people purporting as MDF officers. In this regard, we are urging all Malawians seeking employment into the service to disregard money-for-job offers by any individual, the military spokesman said.

MDF has not sanctioned any recruitment process within the country, according to Kakhuta Banda. MDF further informs the public and job seekers that recruitment matters are advertised in the media and under no circumstances will MDF accept any form of payment for employment, he added. Kakhuta further revealed that the MDF has received complaints from victims across the country but that no arrests have so far been made by the police or the MDF.

We are working hand-in-hand with the Malawi Police to track the culprits but meanwhile, we are appealing to members of the general public to report those involved in such act to nearby MDF installations or police stations. Once these people are caught, the long arm of the law will take its course, he warned. Deputy national police spokesperson Mable Nsefula said Police are doing everything possible to see that such bad eggs in the society are brought to face the wrath of the law.

Malawi Defense Force (MDF) received a rare certification to train militaries for UN peace keeping mission. US ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer gave the certificate to MDF commander General Spoon Phiri during the graduation ceremony of over 800 soldiers for UN peace keeping mission which was being held April 7, 2017 in Chikala Hills, Machinga. This means we can train any military in Africa, we can train even the military in Mozambique for any peace keeping mission, said Phiri.

This means Malawi is one of the few forces in Africa eligible to train soldiers for peace keeping mission. Phiri said Malawi will no longer need to have foreign military experts train the MDF soldiers for peace keeping mission. MDF soldiers have been deployed in various countries including Sudan, Kosovo, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Page last modified: 09-05-2017 16:34:55 ZULU