Bottom up: Divided they stand, united they fall

It may not be pleasing to some people who believe that anyone who suggests anything politically innovative, such as secession and federalism, or anything politically backward, such as feudalism or Unitarianism, is against the duly elected minority government and presidency of Peter Arthur or Arthur Peter Mutharika and the Democratic People’s Party.

Federism campaigners: Some MPs from the North Malawi backing calls for power-sharing

Federism campaigners: Some MPs from the North Malawi backing calls for power-sharing

It may not be pleasing to those who think that anyone who does not agree with the way the government runs national affairs is a frustrated enemy of Arthur Peter or Peter Arthur Mutharika and the Democratic People’s Party. It may not be pleasing to those who believe that Northerners are troublemakers because their Cashgate party miserably lost the controversial May 20, 2014 shambolic elections.

It may not be pleasing to those who don’t see how unfair it is to mine all the coal from Mchenga and Kaziwiziwi in Rumphi but leave Rumphi as poor as it was before the first Gonapamuhanya came to Bolero, Rumphi. It may not be pleasing to those who don’t see how unfair it is for uranium to be mined out of Kayekera in Karonga and leave Karonga and the Karongians as poor as they were before Mlozi started trading in slaves there.

It may not be pleasing to those who are so blind as not to see how unfair it is for nearly all the primeland of the Lower Shire Valley taken away and dedicated to sugar plantations and wildlife parks and leave the Lower Shire Valleans poorer than when David Livingstone first sighted elephants in the now famous Elephant Marsh. It may not be pleasing for someone who refuses to recognize how unfair it is for Malawi’s cream Mulanje Cedar to be exported all over the world while the Mulanjeans are killed or blocked from accessing fuel wood from their own forest.

However, it is pleasing to us, senior staff of the Interfaith International Prayerhouse, that at least the Malawi Government has now started seeing sense in the need for Malawians to freely, fully, and robustly debate the merits and demerits of Unitarianism, Secessionism and Federalism.  It is our considered conviction that the government should not be afraid of calling for a referendum.  If Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda had not hearkened to the Reverend Aaron Longwe and the Synod of Livingstonia’s  St Andrews Church’s call for a referendum on multipartyism, Malawi would not have been multiparty state today.

So, the President and his government should not fear its own people. If people decide to adopt a federal system of government, parliament will debate the issue and amend the laws accordingly. If people choose secession, then new countries will born out of Malawi. It is not wise to force people to live together if they don’t want to. Divided they stand, united they fall.

Referenda are the best and most convincing means of getting a national consensus on a potentially  divisive proposal as the call for secession.  We are squarely convinced that the politicians who started the talk should now step out and let other less polarized institutions manage the national debate. We are pleased that the government has endorsed the Public Affairs Committee and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.

Pleased as we are about this, we are surprised at the choice. We reasonably feel all organizations, individuals, and political parties should be involved in this secession and federalism awareness campaign because different organizations and individuals have different target audiences. Choosing just two organizations without explaining how and why those were chosen is tantamount to stifling debate and giving Malawians a despicably and extremely unacceptable raw deal

We will not support the exclusion of any organizations and individuals in this debate.  That’s why we urge government to enlist the services of President Emeritus Bakili Muluzi. Muluzi already ably handled a similar situation almost twenty years ago. He realized that all the calls, then,  for federalism and secession were about social inclusion, fair distribution of national wealth, jobs and assets, a stop to the wanton exploitation of some areas to develop other areas and the diversion of funds meant for the development of, say Mchinji to other areas,  which coincidentally and ‘criminally’, are home states of a sitting president.


Chief Apostle Prof. Dr Joyce Befu, MG 66, MSE

Leader of Delegation & Expedition.


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39 thoughts on “Bottom up: Divided they stand, united they fall”

  1. Ambudye Apali says:

    Beautiful article decorated with alteration of facts and contradictions. Did Kamuzu heed to the calls of Aaron Longwe and Livingstonia Synod on referendum? That was to show its the North that championed the change yet we are aware of how it all started!! Someone has deliberately decided to ignore the role played by other campaigners for his own motives. During the transition period,PAC played a very crucial role yet today someone questions its selection. Let Malawians hear the voice of reason and not emotional arguments.



  3. Uhuru says:

    Let us stop wrongly accusing others, PP is from Zomba, not from the North. Secondly, let us be modest; there are many people from the Central and Southern Regions who have made themselves Northerners, and they are accepted like that. Similarly, there are many People from the North who have settled in the Central or Southern regions and they are accepted like that. Do not disturb these. Those of us who stay in the North are the ones who want federation. not those who have deserted us.

  4. Tilitonse says:

    Just noted the creative and meaninful heading

  5. Grecium says:

    Thumbs up Zeleza!

  6. madona says:

    Thats not true Mr nationwise. it all started when all tumbukas voted for cashgate PP and empty-headed JB, when most Chewas voted for MCP and when most lomwes voted for DPP. unfortunately PP lost the elections, meaning that tumbukas also lost. the issue of federalism started when PP and tumbukas realised They are no longer in government. if PP had won, mzomera, mkandawaya, chihana, Bessie chirambo, peter mwanza and All tumbukas could have been ministers and believe you me, this issue of federalism/secession couldn’t be there. most noble Malawians have said it that federalism in itself is not bad but question the plight of the ones who are advocating for it now. most Malawians think They are just bad losers. most have been in government during Kamuzu, Bakili, Bingu and Jumbo ya Bonyaz governments but they never said something like this, at least to this gravity. lets root out tribalism first from the voting trend, definitely political governments will then be inclusive

  7. Andrew says:

    Atumbuka inu,mukaphunzira mumabwera ku Blantyre or Lilomgwe ndiye mumati kwanuko azitukulako ndindani?kenako muziti nyonyonyo!tiyeni nazo. Federalism ikatheka nonse kuno muchoke mukapange chitukuko kwanu apo biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  8. Chemwali chimwene says:

    Atumbuka adzadza mu blantyre, ndiye zitukuko za ku mpoto zikangokhala? White elephants? Konseko kufuna u president? Poti ophunzira kwambiri mmalawi ndi atumbuka, ndiye osakatukula kwanuko bwanji? Ambirinu olo nyumba kumudzi kwanuko mulibe, timaona tikapita ku maliro. Ena mmakana kupita kwanuko kuopa ufiti. Ma ngo anu ali kuno, bwanji osakapita nawo kwanuko? Poti aliyense ali ndi ufulu oyankhula, tiyeni nazo.

  9. Salvador says:

    imagine this under federalism with the small size of our country and the behaviour of our politicians and their relations – every where you go there shall be people demanding undue respect..oh son of minister, oh mp’s daughter, oh governor’s cousin want s this and that. think about their influence on selection for scholarships, job we gonna be choked and suffocated. is that what really want my fellow malawians? am glad i was never raised up to believe in tribalism or regionalism, and i guess that makes me a freer although less connected Malawian. But I am happy being that way.

  10. Salvador says:

    we have more serious problems in our country, problems that stem from our constitution. too much powers to the president and ruling party, no accountability to the electorate. MPs forget their constituencies once elected. the presidents smoke out the same people who gave them the top job. why cant we deal with these issues first and if we fail again then stop talking secession. lets be realistic here. what proportion of the country will vote for secession..isnt it the same proportion that thinks its being marginalized because its a minority..then term me how this referundum will be decided – may be the minority will rule again, just as in the just ended presidential ‘erections’. Lets not waste our most scarce resource – finance – on issues that would make government business even more expensive. imagine under federalism, how many cabinets will be there? a minimum of four. same number of parliaments, and more than four times the risk of abuse of our scarce resources by top govt officials. lets limit the powers of the president, make our presidents and mps accountable, have all interviews for public servants aired on our radios, open access to public info. we can have as many governments as we like but we will not be any better if the politics will be the same.

  11. Kenkkk says:

    Mr Inu, you have made some good points but a lot of decisions are also not made based purely on economic efficiency or profitability. Social, political, ethical issues, cost -benefit, etc sometimes outweigh economic efficiency and profitability. Even in The so called capitalist countries.

    For those reasons, it is wrong that Mzuzu has no air service. Actually air service should go as far as kAronga as it used to be. Air Malawi should resume services to the north say twice a week. Air Malawi was our pride during Kamuzu but look now, total disgrace.

    1. Inu says:

      The reason why what used to happen in Kamuzu days cannot happen now is not just a political decision. You see, if Kamuzu bought the jet just like Bingu did, do you think that it would have been an issue in his time? The reason why African governments have less autonomy in important national decisions is because we have become increasingly dependent on aid and the west. In that case it is procedures and guidelines laid down by the world bank, IMF and other western governments that have a great impact on how we run the country.

      Our governments are not allowed to have subsidies. Here the argument will be along the lines that air travel is a luxury and the people who need the money most are in the villages most of who cannot even afford a bus fare. Therefore subsidizing air travel will be looked at as extravagance by the government. Le us also not forget that Malawian airlines now is a public-private investment and therefore it is supposed to be a profitable business. While the government has 51 per cent share, it is actually Ethiopian airlines that run the airline. So I do not think that they can take political decisions to extend the service to the north when the market is not there. It would have been nice to have such services but in our current economic environment it is unrealistic.

      If you ask me, I would have asked government to prioritize a tarmac road from Rumphi to Chitipa via Nyika national park. This investment alone would increase the traffic to the north and probably would open up opportunities for resumption of air services. But again with the federation calls, I guess we cannot really be talking About investment portfolios when the future is highly uncertain now, and investors do not like uncertainty.

      1. Kenkkk says:

        Mr Inu federation doesn’t bring uncertainty because the country will still remain as one. But Independence or secession of the north will bring uncertainty.

        The majority at the moment including the govt seem to warm up to federation debate.

        Subsidies are everywhere even in capitalist nations. The fact that the govt has 51% in air Malawi is a very good reason for it to start services to the north. The same Ethiopian airlines fly to its remote places in Ethiopia where it is making losses. Why not in Malawi? It takes less than an hour to fly from LL to MZ. Another hour from MZ to kAronga. These will be mostly business trips by people and companies. Also well to do people who can afford or are tired of driving. Ethiopian airlines survives because it is the most precious commodity to its govt. Even when war was raging, Ethiopian airlines was still in the skies.

        Yes rumphi chitipa road is very important, it should have been one of the top development priorities in
        Malawi. Yet our successive substandard govts with biased dev decisions and cashgates thieves over the past 20 years have failed us!! There are just so Many worthwhile projects.

  12. Joseph Gondwe says:

    I am of the view that first before debate people should be sensitised of what Federico is, because some people are giving ideas without a proper understanding of what federism is all about.

  13. Horeb says:

    The debate here clearly show long time envy which Sauka prophesised. When the South Sudan got its independence some south Sudanese decided to be citizens of North Sudan. Primitivity & illiteracy is a big disease here. Chikwawa & Neno districts as a whole are rural areas ask primary teachers there all receive rural allowance. Pliz Malawians let us love one another & debate issues kutukwana kumasonyeza usatana ndi kupanda nzeru. Kuno ku tchire cifukwa anthu ndi ochepa thus means more farming land less hunger thus why Muli ali kuno kugula chimanga. When we part ways everybody will suffer. If the population growth continues at the current rate get assure the south will have more land conflicts than the north.

  14. nationwise says:

    Foolishness lies upon the present govt for lack of vision. It all started because of the way the govt has chosen ministers and positions in the public sector how other regions have been sidelined which reflect on the development in these areas. If the present govt can see the importance of having a cabinet from the whole Malawi not just from one tribe I dont think this issue would have been there. But bcoz they are stubbornness they will devide the country. It started with fradulent election then the administration system! Tiyenazoni

    1. Inu says:

      This is where we are getting it wrong as Malawians. There are only 20 cabinet positions against 15 million Malawians. What are the odds that you can get a minesterial post? Secondly of the 20 ministers, 4 are from the north which represents 20 per cent yet the population from the north is not 20 per cent. What is more important though is that in positions that matter to ordinary Malawians, there should be an equal opportunity for everyone. That is the debate that I agree with.

      There have always been ministers from the north, can you point to how these ministers have contributed to development of the north? Is it not just recently that Khumbo Kachali was lambasting at the people that they cannot stop travelling because they do not visit our mothers homes? What benefit was there for the people of the north just because he was in the cabinet? If it is about cabinet representation, is it not the central region that has the right to complain?

      For me I believe that it is us the ordinary citizens that hold the key to development. It is not more about where the ministers are coming from but whether they can deliver to our expectations. It is about how we as citizens hold them to account by making sure that they deliver on promises.

      This brings me to a very important point. This issue about federation, it is very unlikely that the north will receive support from the centre and it is for one reason. Where a person from the north heads an institution, employment tends to go to the north, opporrtunities for further studies go to the north too and so forth. People have observed this for a long time. Therefore it is also time for the people from the north to do a self reflection. This character has unfortunately alienated you guys. If it was not this case, i would have been supporting federation, but since I know its roots, i cannot support it. I am just trying to be frank here.

      1. Kenkkk says:

        Now you know mr Inu that federalism debate hasn’t arisen because of the north’s cabinet positions. And from your tone and deliberations, I don’t think you come from the centre.

        It is the president who has the ultimate say on where major infrastructure developments go. You can have as many north ministers as you wish but at the end of the day they have no power on where major developments go. If they had such power to decide on where developments will be, the north would have been the most developed by now. They are there just as a symbol of national unity and it is the main reason why it is wrong to neglect the centre in cabinet appointments.

        1. Zoopsa says:

          Can you tell us the genesis of federalism calls!!

  15. Mzuzuian says:

    Someone please tell me, why do our friends in the south especially believe that there are no southerners with property and businesses in the North. Let us put the 500000+ tenants and thousands of vends aside, have our friends taken numbers of civil servants, parastals and company employees working in the north but coming from the south.

    My neighbours at Mzuzu’s low density Chimaliro are Mzuni staff and company managers but from the centre and south. They have built houses and I just can never utter words like ‘go back to the south’. Such words are reserved for SAVAGES


    number 9 those are your personal views not necessarily of the people of the centre. if you have personal hatred against the northerners then find your own means of addressing your concerns dont bring the central region as a whole. takukanani bambo

    1. Inu says:

      And what are our views? I am also a Chewa/Ngoni, so what is our position on tis issue?

  17. Mjumacharo says:

    Good one Zeleza, musanyoze anthu a kumpoto chifukwa cha kudandaula kwao. Inu mukukana chitaganya nanu ndi ufulu wanu, koma aku mpoto ali ndizolira zawo . Ndi anthu oipa ngati inu amene mumapondereza anzanu. Central Region nayo ikulira, akhala limodzi ndi aTumbuka kumenya nkhondoyi. Federalism woyeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

    1. Inu says:

      Of course count me out and so many others from the central region too. Do not be mistaken by the leaders of MCP now. You can see that these are guys who have just joined MCP. It is also very unlikely whether they will succeed next time. MCP has its own way of doing things and this is not it, trust me guys. In truth, the people from the central region have more things in common with the people from the South. Take for instance the default language for the Cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe is Chichewa which is totally different from Mzuz which is Tumbuka. If you go to Blantyre from Lilongwe, you dont feel any different apart from the fact that you are in a different place. But if you go to Mzuzu, you actually realize that you have gone somewhere totally different from what you are used to

      1. Kenkkk says:

        Mr Inu and the point is? I am from the north, I go to BT and LL but don’t feel different? Why should you feel different in MZ?

        Do you really want the unity of Malawi or what? If people have a complaint, it is better to listen and try to find a solution to their complaint. You may not have a 100% solution to their complaint but some solution can be agreed for the mutual be Benefit of both sides. Ignoring their complaint is definitely not a solution.

        I am not as openly tribalistic like you but I will support issues (regardless of who has raised them) which I feel are trying to remove injustices and human rights abuse within our country so that we can all enjoy Malawi freely.

  18. Redeemed says:

    Indeed okongola sanyada, real intellectuals need not to brag or inflate themselves over their achievement, one can tell without them making a statement, from how they talk, walk, eat and most of react to provocation.

  19. galula says:

    Atumbuka musamale. That day Centre and South shall form a `Forum` idzakhala yokupatsani 2 weeks yoti musamukire kumpoto. Now I can feel the anger in people from the Centre and South loudly. Poyamba mukamayankhula zopusa zanuzo timangoyang`ana. The goodness, you are easy to identify. Watchout!

    1. Mbuzi says:

      this country has many bandits i tell u, asamale kuti apanga chani, when the one holding their answer is the government, ask mathanyula why he is delaying to answer them on seccession?????????? he knows that being president, it doesn’t give any pride to rule fellow farming and economics slaves southerners, quota system products at the expense of governing intellectuals, great footballers, great estate owners(northerners), those who take heed of world message of do sex more but never overpopulate like dogs, never overpopulate like pigs, he knows that their is pride in governing people who dont cut down trees wantonly like in south and center, as the world tries to work hard to conserve forests, while dunderheads are busy cutting them down the case of zalanyama forest!!!!!!!!!!! he knows that there is pride in governing northerners, whom when there is a hunger of 12 districts in this country then just know that 7 will be from south and 4 from center and only 1 will be from north when there is much hunger, a case of 2001/2002 year of hunger and yet more fertilizer coupons are given in south and center!!!!!!!!!!!! he knows that there is pride in governing northerners than farming slaves (southerners) because all companies are in south and center yet all the people from south and center are working in farms up north where there are less companies koma this world is funny, hence farming slaves of northerners, he knows there is pride and joy at governing northerners, because all universities are in south and center region, yet 60% of people studying in those colleges are northerners, he knows there is pride in governing northerners because better stadiums and netball facilities are in south and center regions, yet those who play in those stadiums all of them come from northern region indeed there is a great pride in failing to endorse north secession!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      southerners have been our farming and economic slaves, we import tobacco tenants, gardeners, vendors, housemaids from south since 200 years, yet all leaders come from their village, and this trend will never change until Jesus christ come on earth again

  20. mwinga says:

    The Northerners please be more careful because the southerners are just watching. They will assist you to secede come referendum. Mukuyakhula kwambiri anthuwa anatopa nanu kale.

    1. Mbolo says:

      some southerners are idiots, if not imbiciles, it is northners we made a case to malawi govt to secede, the one holding that request is peter mathanyula and his DPP govt, and this idiot wirtes trash here as if it is north holding this decision, when u are separating country, govt approves that decisiion and be gazetted into law, people dont just move out fo such and forma country, they want the legal aspect of it to happen, why doesnt peter call for refrendum on this for seccession??????? and this idiot thinks he can use scare monger, how????? dont also show us how u went to college via quota system, those who vote on secession are northerners only if that is to happen, some people from south think that having houses in BT, LL is a great achievement in life, people have mansions, in UK, US, CHINA, CANADA, GERMANY, france, sweden and yet they are not citizens of those countries, so dont look uncivilised here, when north secede , its not only north which wil have its effects, south and cneter will also feel the pinch, because most people in south/center will not have jobs either because those who hail from north with their companies will also move with them, and southerners wil move to look for jobs only to find offices closed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and many houses will be empty no one to pay for rent, can farming slaves(southerners) occupy namiwawa, nyambadwe????????

      1. Inu says:

        Mr. whatever your name is, you have a tendency to insult commentators here. That does nor bode well for you and it just shows that you are bitter.

        But if you want to comment on the issue raised here, I would say that while there might be effects to the Central and South due to secession of the north, the level of impact is not the same as what the north will feel. You talk of companies relocating from the central and south to the north, I guess those decisions will be made by the owners of the companies but I believe that profits are what drives companies and not politics. So decisions by companies will not be based on politics unless the people want to go bankrupt. The north needs to be attractive enough for massive injection of capital. We have talked of air transportation, when air Malawi was a government parastatal, it could afford to fly to Mzuzu at a loss since it was a social service more or less. Now, such decisions are based on profitability and that is why Mzuzu cannot have air services.

        You see, economic efficiency and social services do not go in the same sentence in developing economies because it requires a lot of subsidies to offer high quality social services. In this context, the debate should be on how to make Mzuzu and the whole northern region an attractive destination for investments. Since we are always told that the brightest people in Malawi only come from the north, coming up with such innovative ideas should not be difficult. Otherwise if you continue to blame government for everything and expect everything from government, then how different are you from us, uneducated and less exposed people from the centre and south?

        1. Nyaulembe says:

          This is a good and wise comment and so is Zleza Mandas’ article.
          Mchenga coal mine is owned by Indians who are free to take their profits to wherever they want. Chikangawa forests is partly owned by Indians and partly by Malawians. The Indians sell their timber in Kenya and China and take the profits home. Tea estates are owned by British, Italians and Malawians. The profits goes into the accounts of the owners.
          It is therefore for the northerners to be careful in their decision for it may have economic backlash and for sure it will affect a lot of people.
          As someone said they politicians of the north seems to be interested in ruling power at any cost. If referendum for cessation comes we Malawians will help them to get what they want and that is The Republic of Tumbuka or whichever they may wish to call it.

  21. wisestfool says:

    a Levi Zeleza Manda mukuti bwanji pamenepa ? Kodi mukakhala kukaya nyumba zonsezi mwamanga mu BT ndi LL koma ku Mzuzu kulibe olo imodzi? Kupusatu uku!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    whatever the discussion it will be or conclusion my point of view is that i personally, individually and lonely i do not support those ideas at all i want peace and unite no division

  23. Abiti Mtila says:

    If AFFORD fails to reorganize itself as a party, can Northern Region stand and speak one voice! THis is anon starter. Its a few greedy guys who want the government to palm oil them. But with APM forget!

  24. Lo! says:

    Just go cessation. With this we will be spared the too much noise from the Thengereland.

  25. MAKANDE says:


  26. Ambuje ku lilongwe says:

    Koma anthu muphulikatu zonsezi kufuna u president basi. Ai ziwoneka ndithu atumbukanu mwanyanya phokoso. Tatopa nafe ndikukhalilidwa kusukulu zonse muno mmalawi, mmakapani ndi malo ambiri momwe mkulu wake ngati ali mtumbuka kukhalira anthu amitundu inayi. Izi timaziwonatu.
    So, mupite muzikakhalirana nokhanokha kukayako. Ife pa referendum sitizalora kuti dziko likhale limodzi koma aligawe enanu muzipita kwanu tatopa nanu.
    Kodi zeleza banda angalembe zakanthu? Kodi panyasa bwanji sipakhala nkhani zabwino zaboma koma zonyoza zokhazokha?

  27. chekambewa says:

    Mwayamba kukanukana nokhanoka we told you you cant manage the country cause of your nepotism and hypocrities

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