Malawi’s political settlement in crisis, 2011

10 Nov 2011

Check out APPP Background Paper by Diana Cammack just published on the APPP website

This paper explains the origins of Malawi’s mid-2011 political-economic crisis and subsequent events. While it traces some themes back to before the democratic transition of 1994, it highlights the actions that:       

  • led up to the mass demonstrations of 20-21 July 2011, which resulted in the death of 20 people
  • contributed to the current national economic downturn, and
  • have fuelled on-going civil rights abuses, keeping national politics on the boil. It also looks towards to the 2014 elections.

The paper suggests that, if the deteriorating situation is not turned around, it may lead to Malawi becoming a failed state.  It focuses on President Bingu wa Mutharika’s leadership style, recent economic developments and their socio-political impact, the various political settlements fashioned by the elite, some long-term political economy trends, and several economic and political constraints affecting stability. The ‘20 demands’ presented by civil society activists to President Mutharika in mid-July are explained, and the subsequent responses of government, outsiders and civil society are explored. The paper concludes with a discussion of the political logics which undermine the possibility of ‘developmental patrimonialism’ in Malawi and portend unfair and violent elections in 2014.


Direct download: APPP Background Paper 04 'Malawi's political settlement in crisis, 2011 by Diana Cammack

Back to previous page

Boy with apple, Ethiopia - ©ODI, Antony Robbins