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CFT PENS MDF CHIEF OVER CHILUMBA ROADBLOCK

By Our Reporter

Citizens for Transformation-CFT, which preaches power to the people, has written the recently appointed Malawi Defense Force-MDF Commander, General Paul Valentino Phiri to consider reviewing terms of reference-TORs at Chilumba Roadblock in Karonga; claiming the noble mandate of the soldiers at the place is now associated with brutality and corruption.

CFT President and Commander-In-Chief, Timothy Mtambo says there are allegations that some trucks with farm produce are allowed to pass through the roadblock after paying at least K150, 000.

Mtambo, who is also former National Unity Minister, adds another allegation is that Malawian citizens are not allowed to pass through the roadblock even with a single bag of maize.

“Sir, the local leaders in the district i.e. chiefs and religious leaders have voiced this concern to no avail. The people of Karonga have reached a conclusion that whatever is taking place is proof that Government has abdicated its responsibility and is no longer caring about the hunger situation in the district,” says Mtambo.

He further claims the issue has become a talking point by chiefs and community leaders at every funeral; describing it as a cause for concern “as the confidence of the people in the army is getting eroded daily.”

Again, the CFT leader has appealed to the MDF boss to allow the citizens of Karonga have access to the food that they so desperately need to avert hunger at household and community level.

Mtambo adds: “For this reason, I would like to recommend that the roadblock should be shifted towards the border where the smuggling routes are.

“In addition, I further recommend introduction of another check point before the Chitipa-Tanzania border as a lot of maize is being smuggled into Tanzania through this route.”

In June this year, human rights groups condemned MDF for allegedly harassing him a man identified as Yusuf Mangochi over his viral video in which he accused soldiers at Chilumba Barracks checkpoint of beating up travelers, taking bribes and impounding agricultural produce such as maize, groundnuts and soya beans from entrepreneurs.

Former MDF Commander, Vincent Nundwe denied arresting Mangochi; claiming Mangochi was nabbed by police officers.

“Police knocked on the door and he came out half-dressed and was asked to go back and dress properly and join them to the police station for questioning. However, he [Yusuf Mangochi] decided to close the door; hence, using reasonable force to take him to the police,” Nundwe is quoted as saying.

However, Defence Minister Harry Mkandawire warned that he would MDF officials over reports that some soldiers at Chilumba Barracks roadblock in Karonga assault drivers who ferry farm produce to and from the district.

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