MalawiDefence Force Commander General Henry Odillo says April this year was particularly interesting as the army was called to duty to defend the Constitution and facilitate a smooth transition of power to President Joyce Banda after her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika suddenly dropped dead.
The army, he observed, demonstrated a deep understanding of its role in a democracy and continued sup¬port to civilian rule as per the dictates of the country's Constitution.
General Odillo was speak¬ing to journalists on Friday at Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe on the sidelines of an end-of-the-year ball.
"April was interesting moment where we had to understand that as Malawi Defense Force we had to act in support of the Constitution of this country. I am very proud of our officers and men who understand their obligations as men and women in uniform where we have to support this country's leadership. That message is very clear to our officers ," he said.
The army chief said his officers and men understand that there is no "shortcut to discipline" as the army implements its mandate to safe-guard the territorial integrity of Malawi.
He said the MDF understands where "we are heading to" and will make sure that Malawi is safe and secure at all times.
"We will continue to work extremely hard to safeguard the territorial integrity of this country and support civilian rule," said General Odillo, adding: "We have a duty to protect this country. Anybody can interpret that statement. But we belong in Malawi. We are there to protect and safe-guard the national interests of this country. I can assure people of this country that they should feel safe and secure. They should have trust in the Malawi Defence Force."
On ongoing discussions between Malawi and Tanzania regarding the boundary dispute on Lake Malawi, Odillo said, like all other citizens, he was also keenly following developments. He, however, assured people particularly those living in the north "not to live in fear in their own house" as this was their country and their defense force was alert to safeguard their security and integrity.