CounterJab: Heavens won’t fall! Debunking lying liars’ lies on Malawi adopting federalism

What an amazing turnabout by the Livingstonia Synod and chiefs Kyungu and Chikulamanyembe on whether Malawi should introduce federalism or continue with the unitary system of government.federali

The Livingstonia Synod recently declared “no” as it stood dead against calls for federalism widely being championed by leaders from the northern region. With President Peter Mutharika’s emissary Symon Vuwa Kaunda serving as the backdrop, the leaders of the church said they would not “discuss or advocate for things that are in conflict with our ideologies”.

One can only guess the real nature of Vuwa Kaunda’s visits that forced the leaders to kick to the curb a cause that has long been on the wish list of the people of northern Malawi.

The Synod, however, was not alone. Chikulamayembe and Kyungu, two of the most influential leaders in the region, also shared the same ill-advised position, and as luck would have it, they too had met Vuwa whose success in changing minds was short-lived as his boss welcomed the idea of Malawians debating the issue.

It is worth noting, however, that Mutharika took the position after Leader of Opposition and Malawi Congress Party president Rev. Lazarus Chakwera had endorsed the idea. The President can say he did it own his own but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Minds appear set now on debating federalism and not cessation even though the two ideas will remain a part of this important discourse which many believe will take Malawi to a better place. As believers in the cause, we are not convinced that the aspirations of those demanding change could be met by the current system of government which for decades – as a single party and now multi-party state – has failed to effectively address crucial development concerns.

But it is without question that the road to a better place has detractors who are out with their daggers drawn. As a matter of fact, some are already spreading lies about federalism and against the people calling for it. Let us start with the latter. One of the worst insults against Northerners ‑‑ no illusions that it will go away — is that Northerners want federalism badly because they only look out for themselves.

If we go back to the time when Nyasaland, before she became Malawi, was fighting for independence, could Orton  Chirwa, who was the first president of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the country’s first lawyer who drafted her constitution, have handed the MCP leadership to Dr. Kamuzu Banda who hailed from the central region? Probably not! Similarly, there are many other northerners that have served the country over the years in good faith only to be spat upon.

There is more that people opposed to federalism say. They say that northerners have from independence in 1964 occupied most of the senior positions in government. What they are in fact saying is that Northerners got into those positions without merit but were so stupid that they failed to influence Kamuzu, a dictator, to develop the North.

Absurd as these arguments are, detractors are convinced that just saying them makes them valid.

Malawians are also being told that once federalism is adopted, the heavens will fall leading to the destruction to the country. Federalism, they say, will break up families as those who intermarried will be forced to choose where to live. The same will happen to businesses as owners will have to pick new locations in Malawi, or that those from the north or other regions but living elsewhere in the country would have to revert to their places of origin.

These again are patently false statements. Simply, decentralizing some powers to local administrations does not mean that the country is being divided, but in fact it means people being allowed to strengthen the administrative locale of the country’s education, infrastructure, commercial might, and so on and so forth. And to be clear, under federalism Malawians would not be prevented from living, working, and doing business in whatever part of the country they choose.

Another falsehood being peddled is that the physical size of Malawi is too small for federalism. Perhaps one can forgive those that propagate this notion in that they do not have a clue that Malawi could be split up and still end up with states that are bigger than the following countries: Swaziland, Lesotho, Burundi or Rwanda.

You can also look at individual sizes of regions in the United States, where the combined total area of federated states such as Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts is just slightly above the size of Malawi.

Then there are those who are looking at size in terms of economic activity. The argument perhaps is that the North will suffer if Malawi abandons the current system of government. Let them shed their crocodile tears for somebody else. Since when did they start caring about the North which they often accuse of contributing little to the national economy?

As the debate on federalism is officially in high gear, we should expect  more cynics coming out to dissuade supporters of federalism. Unfortunately for the detractors, the train has already left the station.

In a federal system, the North will be just fine. At the same time, the job of proponents of this system is to let people know that it is not going to be easy; it is could be painful at times. Think of what orthopedic patients have to endure sometimes as doctors break their bones to fix them. Everything gets worse before it gets better.

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Much as I appreciate that federation is working well in other countries, I am not comfortable with the way it was introduced here. To wait until you are whipped in an election then you start talking about secession or federation is utter nonsense. This subject was supposed to be introduced in parties manifestos, then it would be the subject during the campaign. Presidential candidates would debate it. I like Prof. Chisi the way he introduced Feudalism not introducing the system because wakwela ya matayala akuphwa ai. If they won the elections would they introduce the system? Why did they not… Read more »

Some misguided people and Chief’s Chikulamayembe and Kyungu have been reacting negatively on the calls for federalism in Malawi. The question I have for them is Has federalism not taken root already? Think about the issue of DPP having a working alliance with UDF both inside and outside Parliament? If this is not a glimpse of the beginning of federalism then I need to be schooled.

We can call this the federation of DPP and UDF. Sounds good eeh kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.


Counterjab looks knowledgeable on this topic,can you increase your publicity to other media houses for the benifit of those who can’t access nyasatimes.please write again.


The system we have at the moment is nowhere near a unitary one. We are already in a federal system except that this is an exploitive one where the southern state wants to lord over the central and northern region. D.p. p. And it’s lhomwes want to dominate and be masters of the rest of the tribes in Malawi.
A proper federalism will ensure equal and transparent sharing of resources.

john spytrics
You know,its guite embarrassing to hear someone talk ill about we the tumbukas in this federalism bullshit…..Infact, its patheting 2 note that the same supporters of unified Malawi are at forfront of talking bad about tumbukas…..sometimes lets accept the reality that chewa are not and have never shown any sign of peacefully co existing with the tumbukas blaming us of hijacking ur successes in every aspect of life in this country…..Atumbuka amazifila is the nasty description for our successive hard work in schools,work places name it!!! stop hidding ur jealous asses in the name of federalism to speak the ills… Read more »

ngati mkazi waona kuti chisamalilo chikuchepa, osamusiya bwa? ukwati ukhoza kutha ngakhale patapita zaka 50,dead north mwaikonda lero?. 50yrs of independence., mama heart bleeds when i visit my home in mabilabo-mzimba

Atumbuka simumamva. The Dowa people together with the whole central region and probably in unison with the southern region want the SECESSION OF THE NORTH and not that stupid federalism. Mukutikakamira chani kodi? Be strongly informed that many Malawians want secession of the north and not federalism. Lets go to polls for SECESSSION OF THE NORTH/Federalism and will be shocked that 85% and above will vote for secession of the north. So stop saying Malawians want federalism. How did you know this? Do you really mean you asked all Malawians and this is what they told you? Stop lying here.… Read more »
Nyasa #28 you dont really think. If you say Malawians dont want federalism but secesssion of the North how do you know that? How do you mean 85% of Malawians want secession of the North and federalism when MCP is already advocating for the central Region to be federal state? Now tell me, Do you mean MC,P that dominates the Central region plus the North make up 15% 0f Malawians wanting federalism and 85% is the South that wnt secession of the North? You are a fool. What you need to know is that no movement in Malawi that was… Read more »

MCP is not central region. If I were you I would have differentiated presidential and parliamentary elections from federalism/secession of the north. Central region cannot support MCP on federalism. Let’s bet on this one.

Vince of Chilungamo.

Why federalism after 50 years of independence? Inu akawalala unitary government yayipa lero? mmm yoiur greedy ideas will not work. Tribalism and regionalism is the cause of this stupid idea of federalism. Inu ogalu siyani maganizo autsiru.


sizikumveka bwino zomwe mwalembazi … talembani zomveka bwanji

zakakaliya mulopwiya

Hahaha Malawi tsopano. Tell people the truth and avoid brain washing them. I love Malawi.

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