Democracy and rights
Malawi is a largely free country. But the
corruption is extensive and there are, among other
things, problems with police brutality and arbitrary
Malawi is a democracy with multi-party systems. Power
has repeatedly changed hands under peaceful forms. At
the last 2019 election, however, the opposition accused
the government of irregularities of nearly 150 points.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Malawi, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Freedom of association and assembly is guaranteed by
the constitution, but it happens that the regime stops
demonstrations by denying permission. Civil society can
usually operate without restrictions, but the government
has discussed introducing a rule that could make it
possible to prohibit funding for organizations that
oppose its policy.
Freedom of religion prevails and is generally
respected, but Muslims testify to discrimination.
Homosexuality is prohibited by law and can give up to
fourteen years in prison.
Violence against women is prohibited, as is rape. But
domestic violence is common and rarely investigated by
the police. Men and women are equal before the law, but
women are nevertheless financially discriminated against
and in the labor market. Widows can lose their assets to
the husband's family. Malawi is ranked 112th in the
World Economic Forum's Index of Gender Equality in 149
Several corruption scandals have been revealed in
recent years. In 2018, the legal aftermath of a huge
tangle of embezzlement on state funds called "cashgate"
was underway (see Calendar). But the investigative work
is slow and by the end of the year no senior official
had been charged in this.
President Mtuharika is suspected of receiving bribes
in connection with a company depositing a large sum into
an account in his name. He was released from the charges
in 2018, but the human rights organization Human Right
Defenders says the result may have been politically
manipulated (see Calendar).
Transparency International places Malawi at 123 in
its latest index of expected corruption in 180 countries
(see shaving list here). This gives Malawi a position
just above the middle among the countries of Africa.
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of the press and expression is guaranteed by
the Constitution, and is generally respected. Expressing
their opinion as a normal citizen is usually not
dangerous, but many Malaysians nevertheless avoid openly
criticizing the government.
Since the turn of the millennium, the political
climate has hardened and prosecution has been brought
for slander and defamation following revelations of
corruption. In 2018, the authorities were closed for
several days to a publisher whose newspapers had
criticized the government. The official explanation was
a tax dispute. Reporters Without Borders places 2019
Malawi in 68th place in its index of freedom of the
press in 180 countries, which is a four-shot down
compared to 2018.
In 2017, the authorities installed a digital
monitoring system that will officially be used for
quality control. The same year, a law was introduced
that makes it illegal to "receive and share unauthorized
information". Human rights organizations fear that the
authorities want to monitor e-mails and mobile traffic
and have the opportunity to silence network activists.
Judicial system and legal security
The independence of the judiciary is usually
respected, but the appointment of judges takes place
without transparency, which undermines the credibility
of the system. At the same time, the lack of resources
and competent staff is crying. The World Justice Project
ranks Malawi 67th in its index of the rule of law in 126
countries in 2019.
Arbitrary arrests are a problem and during police
interventions there is often violence, sometimes
torture. The US State Department is referring to reports
that 43 people died as a result of police violence in
the first half of 2018. Prisons are overcrowded and
conditions are bad. The death penalty can be imposed.
Controversy over party change in parliament
The Constitutional Court declares that MPs who changed parties during the
term of office have limited rights. The opposition requests the court to declare
the seat of parliament vacant when a member changed party. It would hit hard
against the DPP government party and most of the party's 80 members.
HD rejects national law against the president
The opposition in Parliament is voting to launch a judicial process against
President Mutharika. The Supreme Court, however, declares that the measure
violates the Constitution.
The president's new party wins support in parliament
Mutharika's new party DPP is supported by 18 former UDF members in
The President presents a new party
President Mutharika presents his new party Democratic Progress Party (DPP).
The president conflicts with his party
President Mutharika's relationship with his party UDF is deteriorating. Three
UDF representatives have been charged with treason after coming armed to a
meeting with President Mutharika. The following month, Mutharika leaves the UDF
and accuses the party and its representative Bakili Muluzi of opposing his
anti-corruption campaign. Mutharika decides to form a new party.