Political History of Malawi (Summary) – Book By Frank Chibowa

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Like all other countries of the world, Malawi has also its pre-historic period, masked in darkness. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. At first, in the past, the country Malawi was called Nyasaland.

Political history of Malawi book covers political life, events and chronicles from 1953 up to 2015.

The book has got 7 chapters

  1. Nyasaland during colonial rule
  2. Nyasaland after independence
  3. Beginning of democratisation phase in Malawi
  4. Multiparty era in Malawi
  5. Malawi’s economic boom
  6. Malawi’s economic and democratic downturn era
  7. Assessing the gorvernance systems in Malawi

It is a book that elaborated more about Malawi’s five heads of state in their order respectively, from the late Kamuzu Banda, ex-President Bakili Muluzi, late Bingu wa Mutharika, former head of state Joyce Banda and the incumbent President Peter Mutharika.

It tackled their early life, political life, education, their life abroad, their achievements and shortfalls, their leadership styles, their country security mechanisms, some of their speeches and demise of Dr Ngwazi Hastings-Kamuzu Banda and Bingu wamutharika.

Apart from the Malawi five heads of state, the book also tackled the following Malawi freedom fighters and veteran politicians:

  • Late Chakufwa Chihana,
  • Late Aleke Banda,
  • Late-Kanyama Chiume,
  • Late-Masauko Chipembere,
  • Late-Rose Chiwambo,
  • Orton and Vera Chirwa,
  • Retired politician Mr.John Tembo,
  • Late-Gwanda Chakuamba,
  • Late-Yatuta and Dunduzu Chisiza,
  • Late-Fred Michael Sauka composer of the Malawi national anthem,
  • Late Aaron Gadama, Dick Matenje, John Twaibu Sangala, David Chiwanga
  • The late Chakufwa Chihana
  • Mama Cecilia Kadzamira,
  • Lucius Bandas famous and outstanding songs
  • The late Evison Matafale and Robert Chasowa.
  • Among other figures.

Some of the facts that many people don’t know, are also found in this book. For example

Why Kamuzu Banda was named Kamuzu?

First we should know that his father was Mphonongo Banda and his mother was Akupingamnyama Phiri. The  name  Kamuzu literary means  “a  small  root”  and  was  given  to  him  because  he  was conceived after his mother had been given root herbs by a medicine man to cure infertility. His surname, Banda means “a small hut”. He took the Christian name of Hastings  after  being  baptized  into  the  Church  of  Scotland,  naming  himself  after John Hastings, a Scottish missionary working near his village whom he admired.

Despite some of these facts, the book also undertakes the following political events that took place in different decades and eras. For example

In 1960 a rumour spread- “Dr Banda is not a nyasa”

(You can read more if you buy the book).

The 1964 cabinet crisis and events that led to it

(Happened few weeks after Malawi got its independence from Britain in 1964, the country witnessed the resignation and dismissal of six cabinet ministers)

Parliament met on 8th September, 1964

(Here you will find speeches of honourables like)

  • Kuntumanji (Mp Zomba East constituency)
  • rose chibambo (Mzimba central)
  • Gwanda Chakuamba (Port herald North)
  • Kanyama chiume (Rumphi East)
  • H.B Masauko Chipembere (fort Johnston East)
  • Chief Gomani (Ntcheu North)
  • The minister of finance Mr. J.Z.U Tembo

Moving capital from Zomba to Lilongwe

How the Ngwazi title came about

Exiled “rebel” Kanyama Chiume told Banda to resign

Masauko Chipembere received death threats in Malawi

(Mind you, these were once ministers in Dr. Banda’s cabinet)

Mama’s relationship with Banda (Kamuzu used to say Mama and I)

Kamuzu Banda’s net worth (Buy the book to know more)

The Mwanza four’ incident Happened in 1983, three ministers  Dick  Matenje,  Twaibu Sangala,  and Aaron Gadama  and Member  of  Parliament  David  Chiwanga  died  mysteriously  in  what  was  labelled officially as a “traffic accident”.)

Political demise and path to multiparty in Malawi

(In April 1992, Chakufwa Chihana, a labour unionist, openly called for a national referendum on the political future of Malawi. He was arrested before he finished his  speech  at  Lilongwe International  Airport )

The army disarms Malawi Young Pioneer –MYP

1994 presidential election results

Committee of inquiry on cabinet ministers murders

  • When and how they were murdered
  • How the murder arrangement were made
  • Post-mortem and funeral

Kamuzu Banda’s death

Events and Hate speeches after 1994 victory

Malawi Congress Party has not changed.  It is still a killing party.  How can the members of this party now declare their party clean? How can they even claim that the people who made MCP a bad, cruel party have now joined the UDF? . . . Some of us who moved from MCP and joined UDF did so because we could not stand the witchcraft and the filth in the MCP. We could not stay. MCP had killed so many people. The evil people still  in  MCP  should not  come  to  UDF  because  they  will defile the  UDF party.  (Chakakala Chaziya central region UDF-governor at Bembeke, Dedza District, 17 June, 1997)

Lucius Banda-The Fall of Babylon: Kamuzu Banda’s Era and the Transition to Democracy

Lucius Banda criticized Tribalism/Regionalism

Lucius Banda’s Music as Political dialogue in Malawi

You will find more than 15 political songs of Lucius Banda analysed in Political history Malawi book

Brown Mpinganjira and Bakili Muluzi: the case of UDF’S architect versus UDF’S president

Aleke Banda and Bakili Muluzi: the case of UDF’S think-tank versus UDF’S president (You will read full stories if you buy the book)

Evison Matafale criticized Muluzi government (He was arrested and he died)

Third term- A failed move for Muluzi

Muluzi named successor ahead of 2004 polls (Bingu  WA  Mutharika  was handpicked and groomed by Muluzi)

Chakuamba’s reaction to the 2004 election results

Bingu WA Mutharika and Gwanda Chakuamba: the case of a failed ‘dream team’

Bingu wa Mutharika and ken Zikhale N’goma: the case of ‘brothers-in-arms’ against each other

Similarity of Kamuzu- Kanyama Chiume’s and Bingu- Zikhale relationship

Bingu wa Mutharika and Cassim Chilumpha: the case of national presidents fighting

Lucius Banda and the issue of impeachment

On  Thursday  30  august  2006,  Lucius  Banda  was  convicted  on  two  counts:  on authoring a false document and on giving false information to a person employed in the public service.

He was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment with hard labour on the first count, and to six months imprisonment with hard labour on the second count, but with the sentences running concurrently.

Muslims versus Catholics in politics

Malawi 2011 economic crisis

  • The Academic freedom saga
  • The suspension of electoral commission
  • Deportation of Britain’s high commissioner
  • July 2011 demonstrations and demands
  • Drama of politics continued
  • The politicization of key appointments
  • A call for referendum
  • Bingu WA Mutharika’s death

Joyce Banda’s political life and public offices

Divisions in DPP

The  relationship  between  Joyce-Banda  and  the  previous  President  of  Malawi,  Bingu  wa Mutharika  had  become  increasingly  tense  because  of  Mutharika’s  attempts  to position his own brother,  Peter Mutharika  as the successor of the party and as the next president of the country.

The Malawi flag issue

After the flag was change in 2010 by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), there was public opposition. Many groups challenged the legitimacy of the flag. 28 May  2012,  Banda  led  the  nation’s  MPs  to  vote  to  revert  the  flag  back  to  its independence flag,  which was  originally adopted in 1964. All parties, except the DPP, voted in favour of this reverting to the independence flag

The Road to 2014 President Banda dodged by Cashgate

Examples of the Cashgate corruption cases

Malawi 2014 tripartite general elections, Ex-Minister Godfrey Kamanya shot himself dead

The other side of Kamanya’s story

President Banda ordered nullification of results

Two  days  into  the  vote  count  and  as  the  drama  of  irregularities  was  unfolding, President  Banda  ordered  the  nullification  of  the  presidential  and  parliamentary election  results  and  called  for  fresh  elections  in  90  days,  saying  that  the irregularities had disfigured and spoiled the election results.

Was 2014 election free and fair? ….comprehend

Mutharika met opposition leaders on federalism


The  book  has  shown  that  Malawian  politics’  unique  feature  is  the  ‘culture  of chameleon politics’. It has demonstrated that this is not a new phenomenon, but was present even during the one party state. Politicians who were once very close end up becoming rivals and enemies.

For orders of the book, contact Frank Chibowa on 0999809366.


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Author: Frank Chibowa

Frank Chibowa was born on 24th February 1990. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Water Resources Management and Development from Mzuzu University.