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48. Malawi (1964-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (July 6, 1964-March 2, 1965): British Nyasaland (Malawi) had joined British North Rhodesia (Zambia) and British South Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland on August 1, 1953, and the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved on January 1, 1964.  Parliamentary elections were held in April 1964, and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won 50 out of 53 seats in the National Assembly.  The Nyasaland Constitutional Party (NCP) won three seats in the National Assembly.  Malawi formally achieved its independence from Britain and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations (CON) on July 6, 1964.  Hastings Kamuzu Banda became prime minister on July 6, 1964.

Crisis Phase (March 3, 1965-May 21, 1994):  Government troops suppressed a rebellion led by former Education Minister Henry Chipembere on March 3, 1965, resulting in the deaths of three individuals.  Prime Minister Hastings Kazumu Banda was elected president by the National Assembly on May 20, 1966, and the Republic of Malawi was proclaimed on July 6, 1966. The constitution established a one-party political system, with the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as the only legal political party in the country. The government suppressed a rebellion led by former Minister of Foreign Affairs Yatuta Chisiza on October 4-11, 1967. Legislative elections were held on April 17, 1971, and the MCP won 60 out of 60 seats in the National Assembly.  President Hastings Kazumu Banda, leader of the MCP, was declared president-for-life on July 6, 1971.  Legislative elections were held on May 24, 1976, and the MCP won 70 out of 70 seats in the National Assembly.  The government suppressed an attempted assassination of President Banda in May 1976.  The Malawi Freedom Movement (MFM) and the Socialist League of Malawi (SLM) were established in opposition to the government in Tanzania in 1977.  Legislative elections were held on June 29, 1978, and the MCP won 87 out of 87 seats in the National Assembly.  Orton Chirwa, former Minister of Justice and leader of the MFM, was arrested near the Malawi-Zambia border on December 24, 1981.  Attati Mpakati, leader of the SLM, was murdered in Harare, Zimbabwe on March 28, 1983. Orton Chirwa was sentenced to death for treason on May 5, 1983 (the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in June 1984).  Legislative elections were held on June 29-30, 1983, and the MCP won 101 out of 101 elected seats in the National Assembly.  MFM rebels killed three policemen in Malawi on January 10, 1987.  Legislative elections were held on May 27-28, 1987, and the MCP won 112 out of 112 elective seats in the National Assembly. The United Democratic Front (UDF) was established by Bakili Muluzi in opposition to the government in April 1992.  Government troops suppressed anti-government demonstrations in Lilongwe and Blantyre on May 5-7, 1992, resulting in the deaths of some 40 individuals.  The World Bank (WB) and several western donor countries (U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, and Denmark) imposed economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against the government of Malawi on May 14, 1992.  Legislative elections were held on June 26-27, 1992, and the MCP won 141 out of 141 elective seats in the National Assembly.  On October 12, 1992, President Banda announced a referendum on the country’s political system.  Orton Chirwa died in prison on October 20, 1992. A referendum on the country’s political system was held on June 14, 1993, and some 64 percent of voters voted for a multiparty political system.  The United Nations (UN) secretariat sent observers to monitor the referendum.  The National Assembly amended the constitution in order to legalize opposition political parties on June 22, 1993.  The U.S. government lifted economic sanctions against the government of Malawi on August 11, 1993.  Some 35 individuals were killed in political violence on December 3, 1993.  Legislative elections were held on May 17, 1994, and the UDF won 84 out of 177 contested seats in the National Assembly.  The MCP won 55 seats in the National Assembly.  Bakili Muluzi of the UDF was elected president with 47 percent of the vote on May 17, 1994.  The UN secretariat provided electoral assistance and coordinated some 250 election observers.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections.  The International Foundation of Election Systems (IFES) sent observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections.  Bakili Muluzi was inaugurated as president on May 21, 1994.  Several thousand individuals (estimates range from 6,000 to 18,000) were killed in political violence during the crisis.

Post-Crisis (May 22, 1994-January 4, 2005):  A constitutional conference convened on February 20, 1995, and the National Assembly approved an amendment to the constitution on March 30, 1995, which provided for a bicameral parliament. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) began a boycott of the parliament in June 1996.  The MCP ended its boycott of the parliament on April 3, 1997.  Legislative elections were held on June 15, 1999, and the United Democratic Front (UDF) won 93 out of 192 seats in the National Assembly.  The MCP won 66 seats in the National Assembly, and the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) won 29 seats in the National Assembly.  President Bakili Muluzi was re-elected with 52 percent of the vote on June 15, 1999, and he was inaugurated on June 21, 1999.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent six observers to monitor the elections from June 10 to June 17, 1999.  Organization of African Unity (OAU) Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim sent ten observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections on June 9-17, 1999.  Two individuals were killed in post-election violence. One June 18, 1999, the MCP and AFORD rejected the results of the elections, and claimed that the elections had not been free or fair.  On March 26, 2001, government police arrested six individuals, including Sudi Adaki Sulaimana, for plotting to overthrow the government of President Bakili Muluzi.  The European Union (EU), U.S. government, and British government imposed economic sanctions (suspension of development assistance) against the government of Malawi in November 2001.  Government police clashed with student demonstrators in the town of Zomba on December 11, 2001, resulting in the deaths of one individual.  As a result of concerns about Malawi’s corruption and intimidation of political opposition groups, the government of Denmark imposed economic sanctions (suspension of development assistance) against the government of Malawi on January 21, 2002.  Four opposition activists, including Sudi Adaki Sulaimana, were acquitted of treason charges on March 5, 2002.  Government police arrested Gwanda Chakuamba, leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), for criminal defamation on October 20, 2002, but he was released on bail on October 22, 2002.  Following the deportation of five suspected members of Al-Qaeda on June 23, 2003, Muslims rioted in Blantyre and Mangochi on June 27-28, 2003.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent two personnel to observe a particular aspect of the voter registration process from April 26 to May 1, 2004.  Legislative elections were held on May 20, 2004, and the MCP won 59 out of 193 seats in the National Assembly.  The UDF won 49 seats in the National Assembly.  Bingu wa Mutharika of the UDF was elected president with 36 percent of the vote on May 18, 2004, and he was inaugurated as president on May 24, 2004.  The European Union (EU) sent six election experts, 22 long-term observers, and 52 short-term observers headed by Marieke Sanders-ten Holte of the Netherlands to monitor the elections from April 5 to June 5, 2004.  The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) sent 31 observers headed by Sir Ketumile Masire of Botswana to monitor the elections from May 9 to May 22, 2004.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent 22 observers headed by Joseph Warioba of Tanzania to monitor the elections from May 4 to May 25, 2004.  The African Union (AU) sent 13 observers headed by William Shija of Tanzania to monitor the elections beginning on May 10, 2004.  The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) sent 51 observers headed by Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe to monitor the elections beginning on May 6, 2004.  Several countries sent observers to monitor the elections, including South Africa (6), U.S. (40), Norway (21), Japan (1), Zimbabwe (4), Germany (29), and Netherlands (4).  Four individuals were killed in election-related violence.

Crisis Phase (January 5, 2005-April 7, 2012):  Four members of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) politicians, including Deputy Transportation Minister Roy Cumsay, were charged with treason on January 5, 2005.  On January 7, 2005, President Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned the four UDF politicians that had been charged with treason for plotting to assassinate the president.  President Bingu wa Mutharika resigned from the UDF on February 5, 2005.  President Bingu wa Mutharika established a new political party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), on February 10, 2005.  President Bingu wa Mutharika dismissed Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha on February 9, 2006, but a judge ruled that the vice-president could not be dismissed until the Constitutional Court decided whether or not the president had the power to dismiss the vice-president.  Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha was arrested and charged with treason on April 28, 2006.  President Bingu wa Mutharika of the DPP was re-elected with 66 percent of the vote on May 19, 2009, and he was inaugurated for a second term on May 22, 2009.  Legislative elections were held on May 19, 2009, and the DPP won 114 out of 193 seats in the National Assembly.  The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won 26 seats in the National Assembly.  The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries (ECF-SADC) sent 22 observers from nine countries led by Lazarus Shatipamba of Namibia to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from May 11 to May 20, 2009.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent 77 observers led by Magobetane Patrick Mamba of Swaziland to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from May 11 to May 20, 2009.  The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) sent observers from six countries led by Ambassador Otema Musuka of Zambia to monitor the presidential and legislative elections.  The African Union (AU) sent 22 observers led by former President Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from May 10 to May 21, 2009.  The European Union (EU) sent 77 observers from 24 countries led by Luisa Morgantini from Italy to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from April 7 to June 13, 2009.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent ten observers and five staff members led by former President John Kufor of Ghana to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from May 12 to May 21, 2009.  The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) sent nine short-term observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from May 12 to May 22, 2009.  John Tembo, presidential candidate of the MCP, claimed election fraud.  The governments of Germany and Norway, the World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB), and the European Union (EU) imposed economic sanctions (suspension of development assistance) against the government of Malawi in March 2011.  On April 27, 2011, the government of Malawi expelled the British High Commission, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, for critical comments regarding President Bingu wa Mutharika.  The British government responded by expelling Malawi’s Acting-High Commissioner in Britain, Flossy Gomile-Chidyaonga.  The British government imposed economic sanctions (suspension of development assistance) against the government of Malawi on July 14, 2011.  Following several weeks of anti-government protests, the government prohibited further protests on July 19, 2011.  Government security forces clashed with anti-government protesters in Lilongwe and other cities on July 20-21, 2011, resulting in the deaths of 20 demonstrators.  The U.S. government condemned the government of Malawi on July 21, 2011.  The British government condemned the government of Malawi on July 21, 2011.  Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, condemned the government of Malawi on July 22, 2011.  President Bingu wa Mutharika appointed Henry Odillo as the new chief of the Malawi army on July 23, 2011.  The U.S. government imposed economic sanctions (suspension of development assistance) against the government of Malawi on July 26, 2011.  João Honwana, Director of the Africa Division (Southern and Eastern Africa) of the UN Department of Political Affairs, facilitated dialogue between representatives of the government of Malawi and civil society groups in Lilongwe on August 16, 2011.  The parties signed a joint communique on August 16, 2011.  President Bingu wa Mutharika died of cardiac arrest on April 5, 2012, and Vice-President Joyce Banda was sworn in as president on April 7, 2012.

Post-Crisis Phase (April 8, 2012-present):  The British government lifted economic sanctions (suspension of development assistance) against the government of Malawi on June 1, 2012.  The U.S. government lifted economic sanctions (suspension of development assistance) against the government of Malawi on June 21, 2012.  The European Union (EU) lifted economic sanctions (suspension of development assistance) against the government of Malawi on July 9, 2012.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $156.2 million loan to the government of Malawi on July 23, 2012.  Government workers ended a two-week strike over pay raises in Malawi on February 21, 2013.  On March 10-13, 2013, government police arrested several current and former government officials, including Minister of Economic Development Goodall Gondwe, for their alleged involvement in a coup plot following the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika.  On October 10, 2013, President Joyce Banda dissolved the cabinet following the arrest of several government ministers for corruption.  Legislative elections were held on May 20, 2014, and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won 50 out of 193 seats in the National Assembly.  The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won 48 seats in the National Assembly.  Peter Mutharika of thee DPP was elected president with 36 percent of the vote on May 20, 2014, and he was sworn in as president on May 31, 2014.  Three individuals were killed in post-election violence.  The African Union (AU) sent ten long-term observers and 42 short-term observers led by former President Sam Nujoma of Namibia to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from April 12 to June 7, 2014.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent eleven observers and four staff members to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from May 14 to May 22, 2014.  The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) sent 16 short-term observers from seven countries led by Ambassador Berhane Ghebray of Ethiopia to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from May 15 to May 23, 2014.  The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) sent 147 observers led by Foreign Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah of Namibia to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from May 1 to May 26, 2014.  The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries (ECF-SADC) sent 25 observers from ten countries led by Mzwandile Fakudze of Swaziland to monitor the legislative and presidential elections.  The European Union (EU) sent seven election experts, 28 long-term observers, and 24 short-term observers from 19 countries to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from April 12 to June 19, 2014.

[Sources: Africa Contemporary Record (ACR), 1970-1971, 1972-1973; Africa Diary, January 3-9, 1966, August 1-7, 1966, July 29-August 4, 1976, November 26-December 2, 1977, December 18-24, 1982, August 6-12, 1983, January 8-14, 1984, October 21-27, 1984; Africa Research Bulletin (ARB), July 1-31, 1978; African Union (AU) press release, April 29, 2014; African Union (AU) statements, May 21, 2009, May 22, 2014; Agence France Presse (AFP), July 21, 2011; Associated Press (AP), June 15, 1999, June 18, 1999; Banks and Muller, 1998, 570-574; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), March 26, 2001, November 19, 2001, December 12, 2001, December 14, 2001, January 31, 2002, March 5, 2002, October 22, 2002, June 28, 2003, February 23, 2004, April 26, 2004, May 21, 2004, May 22, 2004, May 24, 2004, May 25, 2004, June 18, 2004, January 5, 2005, January 7, 2005, February 5, 2005, February 10, 2005, November 16, 2005, February 10, 2006, April 28, 2006, May 22, 2009, July 14 2011, July 20, 2011, July 21, 2011, July 26, 2011, April 6, 2012, April 7, 2012, March 11, 2013, May 30, 2014; Commonwealth of Nations press releases, June 9, 1999, April 29, 2004, May 7, 2004, May 8, 2009, May 12, 2014, May 22, 2014; Degenhardt, 1988, 228-230; Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries (ECF-SADC) reports and statements, July 30, 2009, May 22, 2014; European Union (EU) press release, April 16, 2014, June 18, 2014; Facts on File, April 1-7, 1965, July 14, 1978; Jessup, 1998, 448-449; Keesing’s Record of World Events, July 17-24, 1971, June 11, 1982, October 1983, August 1984, May 1992, June 1992, October 1992, June 1993, December 1993, May 1994, April 1997, June 1999; New York Times (NYT), May 14, 1992, July 22, 2011; Panafrican News Agency (PANA), June 9, 1999, June 18, 1999, June 21, 1999, June 24, 1999; Reuters, June 17, 1999, June 18, 1999, August 2, 2010, July 14, 2011, July 21, 2011, July 22, 2011, July 23, 2011, October 18, 2011, March 9, 2012, April 5, 2012, April 7, 2012, May 8, 2012, June 1, 2012, July 16, 2012, July 23, 2012, February 19, 2013, February 20, 2013, February 21, 2013, October 10, 2013, January 18, 2014, May 19, 2014, May 20, 2014, May 22, 2014, May 24, 2014, May 29, 2014, May 30, 2014; Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) statement, May 26, 2014; United Nations (UN) press release, August 17, 2011.]