Republic of Malawi
Dziko la Malawi
Joined United Nations: 1 December 1964
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 14 September 2012
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess
mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant
mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the
distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July
Joyce Hilda Banda
President since 7 April 2012
President and Vice President elected on the same ticket by
popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term);
election last held 19 May 2009; former President Bingu wa
Mutharika died on 5 April 2012, Vice President Joyce Banda
was subsequently sworn in on 7 April 2012
Next scheduled election: May 2014
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Khumbo Hastings Kachali
Vice President since 11 April 2012
The president is both chief of state and head of government
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Chewa 32.6%, Lomwe 17.6%, Yao 13.5%, Ngoni 11.5%, Tumbuka 8.8%, Nyanja 5.8%, Sena 3.6%, Tonga
2.1%, Ngonde 1%, other 3.5%
Christian 82.7%, Muslim 13%, other 1.9%, none 2.5% (1998 census)
Multiparty democracy comprised of 27 districts ; Legal system is based on English common law and customary law;
judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Appeal; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with
Executive: President and Vice President elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for
a second term); election last held 19 May 2009 (next to be held in May 2014); note - the president is both the chief
of state and head of government; former President Bingu wa Mutharika died on 5 April 2012, Vice President Joyce
Banda was subsequently sworn in on 7 April 2012
Legislative: Unicameral National Assembly (193 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 19 May 2009 (next to be held May 2014)
Judicial: Supreme Court of Appeal; High Court (chief justice appointed by the president, puisne judges appointed
on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission); magistrate's courts
Chichewa 57.2% (official), Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%,
Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998 census)
Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries. The economy
is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture, which has benefited
from fertilizer subsidies since 2006, accounts for one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The performance of
the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth as tobacco accounts for more than half of exports. The economy
depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations.
In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. In December
2007, the US granted Malawi eligibility status to receive financial support within the Millennium Challenge
Corporation (MCC) initiative. The government faces many challenges including developing a market economy,
improving educational facilities, facing up to environmental problems, dealing with the rapidly growing problem of
HIV/AIDS, and satisfying foreign donors that fiscal discipline is being tightened. Since 2005 President
MUTHARIKA''s government has exhibited improved financial discipline under the guidance of Finance Minister
Goodall GONDWE and signed a three year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility worth $56 million with the IMF.
The government has announced infrastructure projects that could yield improvements, such as a new oil pipeline for
better fuel access, and the potential for a waterway link through Mozambican rivers to the ocean for better
transportation options. Since 2009, however, Malawi has experienced some setbacks, including a general shortage
of foreign exchange, which has damaged its ability to pay for imports, and fuel shortages that hinder transportation
and productivity. Investment fell 23% in 2009, and continued to decline in 2010. The government has failed to
address barriers to investment such as unreliable power, water shortages, poor telecommunications infrastructure,
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Malawi)
Under the 1995 constitution, the president, who is both chief of state and head of the government, is chosen through
universal direct suffrage every 5 years. Malawi has a vice president who is elected with the president. The president
has the option of appointing a second vice president, who must be from a different party. The members of the
presidentially appointed cabinet can be drawn from either within or outside of the legislature. Bakili Muluzi was
president from 21 May 1994 to May 2004, having won reelection in 2000 with 51.4% of the vote to leading
challenger Gwandaguluwe Chakuamba's 44.3% for the MCP-AFORD party. In the 2004 election Bingu wa
Mutharika defeated Chakuamba by a ten point margin.
The Malawian Constitutional Crisis occurred in Malawi from April 5, 2012 - April 7, 2012 after Senior members of
the Democratic Progressive Party led National Governing Council failed to notify the public on the death of the sitting
president, Bingu wa Mutharika. After the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5, 2012 from
cardiac arrest, public announcements of this death were delayed. Instead, cabinet ministers held a series of meetings
in Lilongwe Malawi without vice-president Joyce Banda with the aim of undermining the constitution and Joyce
Banda's succession to Presidency. News confirming his death however, had been quickly spreading across the
country (and to the Malawian diaspora) through word of mouth, cellphone text messages, Malawian bloggers,
Twitter, Facebook, and on listservs by the end of the day on April 5, 2012. Therefore failure to announce his death
resulted in speculation over the real health of the president and over the succession procedures would be followed as
outlined by the constitution. According to the constitution, the vice-president takes over but there had been no official
word on a successor or communication with the vice-president. Amidst growing speculation, they announced that the
president's brother, Peter Mutharika, the foreign minister, the DPP's presidential candidate in the 2014 elections was
the new President of the party on April 6, 2012. They announced his death two days after his death and President
Joyce Banda became Malawi's first female President.
Sources: Wikipedia: Politics of Malawi; Wikipedia: Malawian constitutional crisis 2012
Disputes with Tanzania over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River remain
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Malawi
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 24, 2012
Malawi is a multiparty democracy. In 2009 voters reelected Bingu wa Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as
president in what international observers characterized as a generally free and fair election. Constitutional power is shared between
the president and the 193 National Assembly members. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
Three major human rights issues in the country include the use of excessive force by security forces, which resulted in deaths and
injuries; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; and limits on freedom of speech, press, and political expression.
Other human rights problems included arbitrary arrest and detention; lengthy pretrial detention; official corruption; occasional mob
violence; societal violence against women; trafficking in persons; discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
(LGBT) persons; and child labor.
In some cases, the government took steps to prosecute officials who committed abuses, but impunity remained a problem.
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5 February 2010
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
18 January-5 February 2010
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
2. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its sixth periodic report, which followed the Committee’s
guidelines for the preparation of reports and which provided clear insights into the situation of women in Malawi. The Committee
also expresses its appreciation for the written replies to the list of issues and questions raised by the pre-session working group and
for the oral presentation and responses to the questions posed by the Committee.
4. The Committee notes with appreciation the timely submission of the sixth periodic report of the State party, which was prepared
through a participatory process involving Government bodies and civil society, including networks and organizations representing
5. The Committee welcomes the very self-critical nature of the State party’s report, which not only mentions the progress achieved
but also identifies the difficulties encountered and makes recommendations for further actions.
Principal areas of concern and recommendations
6. While recalling the State party’s obligation to systematically and continuously implement all the provisions of the Convention, the
Committee views the concerns and recommendations identified in the present concluding observations as requiring the priority
attention of the State party prior to the submission of the next periodic report. Consequently, the Committee calls upon the State
party to focus on those areas in its implementation activities and to report on the action taken and the results achieved in its next
periodic report. It also calls upon the State party to submit the present concluding observations to all relevant ministries, other
government structures at all levels, Parliament and the judiciary in order to ensure their effective implementation.
7. While reaffirming that the Government has the primary responsibility and is particularly accountable for the full implementation
of the State party’s obligations under the Convention, the Committee stresses that the Convention is binding on all branches of
Government and invites the State party to encourage its national Parliament, in line with its mandate and procedures, where
appropriate, to take the necessary steps with regard to the implementation of these concluding observations and the Government’s
next reporting process under the Convention.
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Swearing in of Vice President a Positive Step for Transition in Malawi
Apr 9 2012 - 5:10pm
Freedom House commends the orderly transfer of power and respect for Malawi’s constitution, following the swearing in of
former vice president, Joyce Banda on April 7. The decision for Banda to assume power comes after former president Bingu wa
Mutharika died last week from massive cardiac arrest. Banda is the first female head of state in southern Africa, and will remain
president until the country’s next elections in 2014. Freedom House encourages President Banda to take this opportunity to enact
democratic reforms and reverse the troubling trend of rising authoritarianism in the country, including a massive and violent
crackdown on civil society and growing disrespect for democratic institutions and principles.
“We are encouraged that President Banda has moved swiftly to address some troubling issues in the country, including the
appointment of a new police chief,” said Robert Herman, vice president for regional programs at Freedom House. “We sincerely
hope this move represents the beginning stages of a more democratic and accountable government in Malawi, one that genuinely
engages with civil society and is open to reform and political reconciliation.”
Former police chief, Peter Mukhito is widely believed to have been at the center of a security crackdown on civilian protests last
year that claimed at least 19 lives, causing international outrage and prompting the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to
suspend $350 million in funding to Malawi. Banda formerly served as Mutharika’s vice-president, despite a very public rift and
expulsion from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The DPP largely dominates Malawi’s political landscape, including
Malawi’s legislature, and has increasingly moved to stifle political dissent.
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Annual Report 2012
24 May 2012
Human rights defenders and other government critics were subjected to harassment and intimidation. Several civil society leaders
were forced into hiding as attacks on government critics increased. Anti-government protests were brutally suppressed when police
used live ammunition on protesters. An amendment to the Penal Code further restricted freedom of the press. Lesbians, gay men,
bisexual and transgender people continued to face persecution.
Tensions increased throughout the year as civil society continued to express concerns about human rights violations, the
deteriorating economic situation and bad governance.
The British High Commissioner to Malawi was expelled in April following the leaking of a diplomatic cable in which he described
President Mutharika’s rule as increasingly “autocratic and intolerant of criticism”. The UK government responded by expelling
Malawi’s representative to the UK and freezing aid. In July, the UK indefinitely suspended general budget support to Malawi worth
£19 million, in line with other international donors who had previously suspended or ended general budget support, citing concerns
about economic management, governance and human rights. Following the deaths in July of 19 people when police used live
ammunition to break up protests, the USA withheld US$350 million in aid.
In breach of its legal obligations to the International Criminal Court, Malawi failed to arrest Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir
during his visit in October for a regional trade summit.
Repression of dissent
Human rights defenders and other critics of the government were harassed and intimidated including through death threats, forced
entry to homes and offices, petrol bombings and other attacks. There were several suspicious break-ins at NGO offices. Threats
and attacks were made either by people identifying themselves as aligned with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or by
unidentified men believed to be state security agents. Human rights defenders speaking at international forums and those involved in
organizing anti-government demonstrations were publicly criticized and threatened with violence and arrest by government officials,
including President Mutharika.
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Malawi's Bashir Bashing is an Example for Africa
by Elise Keppler
Published in: Mail and Guardian
August 10, 2012
The new Malawi government took an important step in June when it indicated it could not host the African Union summit if it
meant welcoming President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan to its territory, given that he is an International Criminal Court suspect for
crimes committed in Darfur.
This is a key acknowledgment of the court’s work 10 years into its existence and takes a firm stand at a time when many Africans
are criticizing the court for what is seen as an anti-Africa bias in its attempts to bring to trial government leaders and others
allegedly responsible for the gravest crimes — genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Many governments in Africa, including South Africa, were active in the court’s establishment and became members. But nowhere
has its work been more debated and criticized than in Africa. Claims that the court unfairly targets Africans abounded after it issued
arrest warrants for Bashir and Muammar Gaddafi. A docket of African situations under investigation by the court has fed such
Yet critics ignore the fact that most of these investigations arise from requests by African governments or the United Nations
Security Council. They also ignore the thousands of African victims served by the court’s efforts.
The court faces significant challenges, one being the refusal of some powerful nations to join. Moreover, several—the United
States, Russia and China — have vetos at the UN Security Council, the only body that can refer situations to the court if crimes are
committed in countries that are not members of the court.
Nkosazana Dliamini-Zuma, the new African Union Commission chair, will be an important player. In her first public comments on
the court, she stated the AU’s position on Darfur without expressing her views. She will have many opportunities to have a positive
influence on the AU’s relationship with the court. Enabling the court to open an AU liaison office, an idea supported by many
African states, would be a first step in enhancing understanding. Ensuring the AU does not obstruct efforts to promote justice for
the worst crimes should be a longer-term goal.
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State Of The Nation Address
Friday 18 May 2012
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as a Malawian who is deeply conscious of the history and struggles of Malawians; as a Malawian woman who
knows the humiliation of Malawian women; as a Malawian who has championed the plight of rural poor, the plight of urban poor, the
plight of marginalized girls and boys; and as a Malawian human rights activist who has championed for the advancement of the
oppressed; and as a Malawian diplomat who has campaigned for the Malawian people; I can attest to the fact that the history of a
Malawian is intimately intertwined with the history of Africa and indeed the history of the world.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Martin Luther King Jnr. once said “I have a dream”. Yes, I also have a dream. I see a Malawi where her citizens
enjoy their freedom, dignity and a sense of pride. Yes, I see Malawians maximise their capacity to realise their social, political and
economic empowerment. I see Government eradicate poverty of its people through economic growth and wealth creation.
HUMAN RIGHTS, RULE OF LAW AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and access
to justice as provided for in our Constitution.
With respect to the rule of law, during the 2011/2012 fiscal year, the country experienced a deterioration of human rights, rule of law
and governance. Due to poor political and economic governance donors withdraw and or suspended aid to Malawi and the investment
climate worsened. Court orders were not complied with and many repressive laws were passed in this august House. Despite these
challenges, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government continued to review certain laws, including: the Domestic Act, the; Public Health Act; the
Chiefs Act; the Sheriff’s Act; the Patents Act and the Local Courts Act; and finalized the review of two laws relating to adoption of
children and fire arms.
In the 2012/2013 fiscal year, we will continue with the law reform programme and finalize review of the laws that I have just referred
to. Some laws which were duly passed by this august House and were referred back to the Malawi Law Commission will be repealed,
as a matter of urgency, and these include: section 46 of the Penal Code (Cap7:01); the provisions regarding indecent practices and
unnatural acts contained in sections 137A and 153 – 156 of the Penal Code; the Civil Procedure (Suits by or Against the Government
and Public Officers) (Amendment Act, 2011); the local Courts Act, 2011; and Section 35 of the Police Act, 2010.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Government will bring to Parliament a bill for debate and decision on whether the independence national flag
could be reinstated to replace the current one. This decision was reached upon observing that the process to change to the present
flag did not involve adequate national consultation and participation by Malawians. In the opinion of the Cabinet, there was no
compelling reason for changing the independence flag. The Minister of Justice will present the bill to this august House during this
meeting of Parliament.
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2012, which seeks to provide for the holding of Tripartite Elections and is already before this
House, will also be considered soon.
In the 2012/2013 fiscal year, Government will start conducting civic education in readiness for the 2014 tripartite elections and build
capacity of Civil Society Organisations to enable them adequately deliver governance and human rights programmes.
Government will strengthen institutions that enforce and promote human rights, accountability in governance issues and access to
justice like the Office of the Ombudsman, Malawi Human Rights Commission, the Law Commission and the Malawi Electoral
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the coming fiscal year, Government will remain committed to the fight against corruption. We will concentrate on
areas of corruption prevention, public education, investigations and prosecution in our quest to achieve a corrupt-free society.
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HRCC demands progress on Chasowa inquiry, arson attacks
By Nyasa Times Reporter
January 8, 2012
The Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) has demanded justice to be served on the investigations into circumstances
leading to the death of Polytechnic engineering student Robert Chasowa last September who may have been killed due to his anti-
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika announced that an enquiry into the death will commence but there has been no progress on
the matter so far.
HRCC Vice Chairperson Mrs. Magret Ali and acting National Coordinator Reverend Macdonald Sembereka said in a media
statement made available to Nyasa Times that government should provide “an update on the progress” of the inquiry into Chasowa
Chasowa—was chairperson of a student activist group, Youth for Democracy, which was allegedly printing a weekly anti-
Mutharika administration newsletter, the Weekly Political Update. He was found dead on campus on September 24 , 2011 under
Police’s case to answer
Police ruled the death a suicide but an autopsy report indicated that he was beaten to death. Ruling DPP operatives are reported to
have carried out the murder.
Youth Association for Democracy in Malawi, (YADEMA) also demanded that Malawi Police should be thoroughly probed on the
death of Chasowa
The youth movement appealed to the President that the terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry should not only be
restricted to establishing the circumstances surrounding the death of Chasowa , but also on “finding out the circumstances that led
to the police telling the nation that he committed suicide.”
YADEMA head, lawyer Wapona Kita said the inquiry should also find out “ the circumstances that led the Minister of Information,
Hon. Patricia Kaliati to tell the nation that it is Rafiq Hajat and Undule Mwakasungula (activists) that are responsible for his death. “
Kita said in a statement: “Those holding public office need to be accountable for the (mis)statements they make to the public since
as the Constitution succinctly puts it, the exercise of their legal and political authority is to solely serve and protect our interests.”
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Ombudsman suspends own staff for petitioning against her
14 August 2012
The Ombudsman has suspended three of its employees who were signatories to petitions sent to Parliament’s Public Appointments
and Declaration of Assets Committee against the incumbent Tujilane Chizumila.
The suspension was effected the same day the committee wrote the office of the Ombudsman, throwing out the petitions and
asking the institution to internally handle the matter, according to correspondence seen by The Nation.
The three are assistant internal auditor Yohane Sambakunsi, senior accounts assistant Stanley Gome and audio visual technician
Phillip Mwatiwamba Banda.
In an interview on Sunday, spokesperson for the office of the Ombudsman Patrick Maulidi confirmed the suspensions.
“Three of our staff members are indeed on interdiction for gross misconduct. The suspended employees went ahead to photocopy
confidential documents which is against the Malawi Public Service Regulations [and] some provisions in the terms and conditions
of service,” said Maulidi.
He said the charges levelled against the three also include violation of code of ethics, the internal grievances procedures, breach of
the provisions of the Ombudsman’s Act, the office’s Terms and Conditions of Service and the Malawi Public Service Regulations
“The staff will have a fair and just disciplinary hearing because they will be presented with the charges in line with the Public
Service Act and rules of natural justice. Their responses will be presented to the Appointments and Disciplinary Board which is
independent and not part of the office of the Ombudsman management,” said Maulidi.
A suspension letter seen by The Nation and signed by the principal human resource officer Beston Jumbe on behalf of the
Ombudsman states that during the period of the suspension, the three will be on half pay salary.
The three sent to Parliament’s Public Appointments Declaration of Assets Committee two petitions. The first was dated June 25
2012 and the other July 23 2012, in which they, among others, asked Parliament to intervene in various grievances including alleged
corruption, nepotism and abuse of office by the Ombudsman.
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Hominid remains and stone implements have been identified in Malawi dating back more than one million years, and
early humans inhabited the vicinity of Lake Malawi 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Human remains at a site dated
about 8000 BC show physical characteristics similar to peoples living today in the Horn of Africa. At another site,
dated 1500 BC, the remains possess features resembling Bushmen people. These short people with copper colored
skin were known as the Akufula or Batwa. They are responsible for rock paintings found south of Lilongwe in
Chencherere and Mphunzi. The name Malawi is thought to be a derivation of the word Maravi. The people of the
Maravi Empire were iron workers. The name Maravi is thought to mean “rays of light” and may have come from the
sight of many kilns lighting up the night sky. A dynasty known as the Maravi Empire was founded by the Amaravi
people in the late 15th century. The Amaravi, who eventually became known as the Chewa (a word possibly derived
from a term meaning “foreigner”), migrated to Malawi from the region of the modern day Republic of Congo to
escape unrest and disease. The Chewa attacked the Akafula, who settled in small family clans without a unified
system of protection. Eventually encompassing most of modern Malawi, as well as parts of modern day
Mozambique and Zambia, the Maravi Empire began on the southwestern shores of Lake Malawi. The head of the
empire during its expansion was the Kalonga (also spelt Karonga). The Kalonga ruled from his headquarters in
Mankhamba. Initially the Maravi Empire’s economy was largely dependent on agriculture, chiefly the production of
millet and sorghum. It was during the Maravi Empire, sometime during the 16th Century, that Europeans first came
into contact with the people of Malawi. Under the Maravi Empire, the Chewa had access to the coast of modern
day Mozambique. Through this coastal area, the Chewa traded ivory, iron, and slaves with the Portuguese and
Arabs. Trade was enhanced by the common language of Chewa which was spoken throughout the Maravi Empire.
The Portuguese reached the area via the Mozambican port of Tete in the 16th century and gave the first written
reports on the people of Malawi. The Portuguese are also responsible for the introduction of maize to the region.
Maize would eventually replace sorghum as the staple of the Malawian diet. Malawian tribes traded slaves with the
Portuguese. These slaves were sent mainly to work on Portuguese plantations in Mozambique or to Brazil. The
downfall of the Maravi Empire correlates to the entrance of two powerful groups into the region of Malawi. The
Angoni and their chief Zwangendaba arrived from the Natal region of modern day South Africa. The Angoni were
part of a great migration, known as the mfecane, of people fleeing from the head of the Zulu Empire, Shaka Zulu.
This migration had a significant impact on Malawi, as it did on all of Southern Africa. While fleeing from Shaka, the
Angoni had adopted many of his military tactics. They made use of these tactics to attack and conquer the people of
the Maravi Empire. Settling in rocky areas, the Angoni would conduct annual raids on their Chewa, also called
Achewa, neighbors to take both food and slaves. Some slaves were kept by the Angoni while others were sold to
slave traders. The second group to take power around this time were the Ayao. The Yao came to Malawi from
Northern Mozambique to escape famine and conflict with the Makua tribe. The Makua tribe had become envois of
the Yao because of the wealth the Yao were amassing through trading ivory and slaves to Arabs from Zanzibar. The
Yao, upon migrating to Malawi, soon began attacking both the Achewa and Angoni people to capture prisoners who
they later sold as slaves. The Yao were the first, and for a long while, the only group to use firearms in conflict with
other tribes. The Yao were also different religiously from their neighboring tribes, choosing in 1870 to follow Islam
like their Arab trading partners rather than the traditional Animism practiced by surrounding tribes. As a benefit of
their conversion, the Yao were provided with sheikhs who promoted literacy and founded mosques. The Arab
traders also introduced the cultivation of rice, which became a major crop in the lake region. During the height of his
power, Jumbe Salim Bin Abdalla. Transported between 5,000 and 20,000 slaves through Nkhotakota annually.
The founding of these various posts effectively shifted the slave trade in Malawi from the Portuguese in Mozambique
to the Arabs of Zanzibar. Although the Yao and the Angoni continually clashed with each other, neither was able to
win a decisive victory. The remaining members of the Maravi Empire, however, were nearly wiped out in attacks
from both sides. Some Achewa chiefs saved themselves by creating alliances with the Swahili people who were
allied with the Arab slave traders. Although the Portuguese reached the area in the 16th century, the first significant
Western contact was the arrival of David Livingstone along the shore of Lake Malawi in 1859. Subsequently,
Scottish Presbyterian churches established missions in Malawi. One of their objectives was to end the slave trade to
the Persian Gulf that continued to the end of the 19th century. In 1878, a number of traders, mostly from Glasgow,
formed the African Lakes Company to supply goods and services to the missionaries. In 1883, a consul of the
British Government was accredited to the "Kings and Chiefs of Central Africa," and in 1891, the British established
the Nyasaland Protectorate (Nyasa is the Chiyao word for "lake"; it was also known as the British Central Africa
Protectorate for several years around the turn of the century). Although the British remained in control until 1964, this
period was marked by a number of unsuccessful Malawian attempts to obtain independence. The Federation of
Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved on December 31, 1963, and Malawi became a fully independent member of
the Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth) on July 6, 1964. Two years later, Malawi adopted a
republican constitution and became a one-party state with Dr. Banda as its first president. In 1970 Dr. Banda was
declared President for life of the MCP, and in 1971 Banda consolidated his power and was named President for life
of Malawi itself. The paramilitary wing of the Malawi Congress Party, the Young Pioneers, helped keep Malawi
under authoritarian control until the 1990s. On June 14, 1993, the people of Malawi voted overwhelmingly in favor
of multi-party democracy. Malawi saw its first transition between democratically elected presidents in May 2004,
when the UDF’s presidential candidate Bingu wa Mutharika defeated MCP candidate John Tembo and Gwanda
Chakuamba, who was backed by a grouping of opposition parties. President Bingu wa Mutharika left the UDF party
on February 5, 2005 citing differences with the UDF, particularly over his anti-corruption campaign. On April 5
2012, President Mutharika died. fter his death, the government failed to notify the public, in a timely manner, that the
president had died. This led to the fear of a constitutional crisis in Malawi. Malawi’s ex-President Bakili Muluzi
insistied on "constitutional order", saying the vice president must automatically take power under the constitution. On
7 April, Malawi's cabinet sought a court order to block Banda from becoming president. In turn, she phoned the
army commander, General Henry Odillo, and asked if he would support her. He agreed and stationed troops around
her house. Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda was sworn in on Saturday, 7 April, as the President of the Republic of
Malawi, the first woman to hold the office. After she was sworn in, she appealed for national unity. The Malawian
and international media reported on Joyce Banda’s smooth inauguration. They called it a triumph for democracy. On
18 May, Banda announced her intention to overturn Malawi's ban on homosexuality. The measure was reported to
already have the support of a majority of MPs. If successful, it would make Malawi the second African nation to
legalize same-sex sexual activity since 1994. In June 2012, in order to reduce the government spendings, Joyce
Banda decided to sell her jet and a fleet of 60 luxury cars. Her Dassault jet brought $15 million in revenue.
Sources: Wikipedia: History of Malawi
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