Jackson Applauds MDF
Ambassador Jackson Applauds Malawi Defence Force
U.S. Ambassador Jeanine Jackson has commended the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) for its separation from politics and its respect for civilian rule. Jackson was speaking recently in Salima at the Malawi Armed Forces College (MAFCO) when she officially closed the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) training.
Jackson observed that the way the MDF handled the transition of power when former president Bingu wa Mutharika died demonstrated MDF’s professionalism and served as a model of what a professional military should do in a democracy.
“I just returned yesterday from Washington, DC where I accompanied the President Mrs. Joyce Banda ... she carried an important message to the United States. Thousands of Americans are now more aware of the historic and peaceful transition that occurred here...Americans learned that the Malawi Defence Force is a professional and effective part of ensuring the security of this nation while also contributing as peacekeepers to the security of Africa”, she said.
The just finished ACOTA was to prepare the third Malawi Battalion before its deployment for a peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast at the end of June. The battalion includes 32 women soldiers, the largest number of women so far deployed by MDF for peacekeeping.
Describing the ACOTA training as “another great success”, Ambassador Jackson said the training would be a valuable resource for the MDF as it increased its contributions to African peacekeeping missions. She said, “I would like to encourage the MDF to take the training one step further by establishing an in-house training institution that would provide critical follow-on training, continuity and maintenance of skills”.
In his remarks MDF Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Clement Kafuwa advised the soldiers to maintain discipline while on tour. Speaking in vernacular to stress his point General Kafuwa warned the soldiers that misconduct would not be tolerated and anyone who misbehaves while serving in Ivory Coast would be recalled to face disciplinary action.
The United States Government spends $1.5 million (approx. K414million) in Malawi through ACOTA for peacekeeping per year. Apart from providing personal equipment like uniform, boots and helmets to MDF deploying forces, ACOTA also funded the construction of an 800-man transit camp at MAFCO worth K110 million for accommodation of troops during peacekeeping training.