President Mutharika touted the high discipline in MDF and reiterated that his administration will facilitate high quality training and equipment for the men in uniform.
“Today we witness this historic commissioning of state of the art warships which will enhance MDF’s capability in patrolling our borders. MDF has earned itself international recognition for its professional and commendable discharge of duties. Government is committed to ensuring the military is well equipped and trained,” said President Mutharika.
During the function, President Mutharika spoke tough against anarchy and looting that has characterized the recent anti Jane Ansah demonstrations. The Malawi leader said much as the constitution guarantees the right to demonstrate but it doesn’t allow prevalence of anarchy and gender based violence on women. He cited looting of shops, torching of government offices including stripping naked of a police officer as the ugly face of the demonstrations. He has since commanded security agencies in the country to stop the planned airport and borders shutdown.
Some of the warships and high speed interceptor boats
During the commissioning, President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika inspected a guard of honour, made a symbolic presentation of book of orders and also had time to appreciate the navigation of the warships on the lake.
Delivering his speech, Zheng Yi, vice president for China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) , a Chinese firm that assembled the warships, commended President Mutharika for his commitment in the project. Then the NORINCO vice president presented a gift (A model of the warships) to Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.
In his remarks, army commander, General Vincent Nundwe, applauded government’s commitment to improve the standards of the army.
He said the warships will go a long way in enhancing operations of the defence force.
Zheng Yi presents a Gift as to President Mutharika
“Your Excellency, for the maritime force to be effective and operate to required standards, it needs a lot of resources and we have to thank your Excellency’s government for these ships that will go a long way in discharging required maritime operations.
“ These include capabilities of interception and seizure proficiencies, search and rescue operations conducting coastal patrols, escorting VIPs and relief operations just to mention but a few,” said General Nundwe.
The ships and boats have been christened with various notable names in the history of MDF:
• Ship of the Republic of Malawi (SMR) Mutharika, as a token of appreciation of great zeal and interest President Mutharika has shown in the project.
• SMR Muluzi for being the first Commander –in-Chief of the MDF in the multiparty dispensation.
The high speed interceptor boats have all been named after four Commanders of the MDF whose professionalism and integrity have left a legacy in the organizational culture of the MDF.
The Commanders are; General Melvin Khanga, General Isaac Yohane, General Dismas Maulana and General Manken Chigawa. The boats go by the following names:
• SMR Khanga
• SMR Yohane
• SMR Chigawa
• SMR Maulana
The marine unit of the army was established in 1978 with two gun boats and one landing craft. Since then it has been commissioning, decommissioning and recommissioning several vessels.