Sunday, May 26, 2024

Featured Video

Latest Stories

Top 10 Music

Upcoming Events

Faka Friday Vibes

Fri, 31 May 2024 18:00:00 UTC @ Blues Bar & Restaurant - Milly Entertainment Presents "Faka Friday Vibe" with live music performances from Jetu, Jay Jay Cee, Black Nina, FadaMoti Kineo and Aidfest Madness. The show will start from 6PM till yo... More Info
Amapiano Fest

Sat, 01 Jun 2024 12:00:00 UTC @ BICC Amphitheatre - Winter gig is here on 1st June 2024 With Amapiano Fest at BICC Amphitheatre in Lilongwe. The event will have live music performances by Lady Lady Du and Myztro from South Africa And Zez... More Info

No coup here: Malawi successfully transfers power

Malawian Vice President Joyce Banda addresses a media conference in the capital Lilongwe, Malawi, April 7. Mabvuto Banda/Reuters
After the sudden death, by heart attack, of Malawi’s 78-year president, Bingu wa Mutharika, earlier this month, Malawians anxiously suffered several days of uncertainty. First, the government would not immediately proclaim the president dead. Having been flown to South Africa for medical attention, Mutharika seemed to have gone missing rather than ceasing to exist. The confusion, of course, was ultimately explained by the rules of succession in Malawi, which called for vice president, Joyce Banda, to assume executive power. Not only was Banda a women in a Malawi riddled with casual sexism and long traditions [of] patriarchal behavior, she was also a critic of Mutharika, a former World Bank official who seemingly did the impossible in managing an economic revival but tarnished his reputation by displaying increasingly autocratic behavior.

Mutharika’s death, then, had the potential to plunge Malawi, a small and oddly-shaped country in southern Africa that has often flirted with “state failure” over its 50-year history, into crisis. The question of whether Malawi should even be country – in colonial times Malawi, then known as Nysasland — was a thinly-populated British protectorate where a motley collection of whites and Asians controlled the economy, which mainly consisted of tobacco and tea growing. No less a central figure than Hastings Banda, the president of Malawi on its independence in 1964, questioned whether this long, thin and heavily-rural jurisdiction, should simply be rolled into its much larger neighbor, Zambia, which during British rule was known as Northern Rhodesia.

Think you know Africa? Take our geography quiz.

Doubts about Malawi’s viability have never completely vanished and, during the first decade of the 2000s, when Malawi faced a [series] of severe food shortages, questions again arose over whether Malawians ought to voluntarily be absorbed into either Zambia or land-rich Mozambique, neighbor to the east.

Under Mutharika, Malawi settled on a set of policies that reward small farmers, who receive inputs such as fertilizer at reduced prices. The policy contradicted the advice of international assistance experts but Mutharika wisely argued that these experts were the cause of Malawi’s food shortages. He was proved right by Malawian farmers, who grew record amounts of corn under the stimilus of government buying programs. Indeed, Mutharika effectively nationalized the maize crop, repudiating free-market, neo-liberal agricultural policies that remain (sadly) the cornerstone of the international aid community’s approach to African farming.

Mutharika’s vanity, in the end, alienated a voting public that might otherwise have treated him as a hero. His death could have plunged the country into a new crisis, if his inner circle had refused to permit Joyce Banda’s ascension to the presidency. Her path was not blocked and Malawi, for the moment, again seems like a nation that deserves to the world’s admiration, if not Africa’s. Hailed as a grassroots leader, Banda must stand for election in 2014.

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel:

Related Posts

2 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Popular Articles