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

  1. Mbwiye says:

    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 introduce the system when they were in government, are they serious? .Anything good but said when you are angry with emotions after failing elections can not be taken seriously. Bingu tried to introduce zero deficit budget when he was angry with the azungus and it did not work ( we did not take him seriously, we thought it was done out of anger) yet it was a good system and to day we all Malawians adopted it in Parliament because Goodal Gondwe introduced it properly with sobber minds. Nobody will take secession and federation seriously because these were introduced by failed and disgruntled politicians after being whipped in a general election and people feel they are not being introduced in good faith. I hope next time it will be introduced properly.

  2. Aferazao says:

    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.

  3. Grecium says:

    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.

  4. chakwanuleka says:

    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.

  5. john spytrics says:

    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 u’ve been to talke about us since the day we dominated the interrectial branch of this nation & threw ur lazy brains into the tobacco farms…i mean, serious,u may have attain a nice education which makes u to make afool ur self in english & that which makes u think u are above us in thinking but u have some real catchups to do coz we are far beyond ur reach thats why u dont sleep until u say some stuped things about us…..infact,we the tumbukas are the ones who believes in peacefull co existence we’ve been exporting labour for our numerous tobacco farms from everywhere that is not north in this country something a chewa cannot do !…u are a danger to ur pathetic selves and stop blaming tumbukas for lack of success!!!!!!!!!and u are luck to have guarter systm in goverbment universities othrwise we would have tumbukalised the whole country… stuped ass swine!

  6. ingwazi says:

    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

  7. Nyasa says:

    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. Its only Northerners who want federalism

    1. SMM II says:

      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 started by Northeners has failed. Not even federalism will.

      1. Nyasa says:

        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.

  8. Vince of Chilungamo. says:

    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.

  9. Dineo says:

    sizikumveka bwino zomwe mwalembazi … talembani zomveka bwanji

  10. zakakaliya mulopwiya says:

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

  11. Cydrick Mgunda says:

    Isaaaaah! Composition??

  12. Chipandula says:

    Kyungu must not think as if he is the ruler of Karonga and Chitipa. Whatever he decides to say doesnt come from the minds of people. He must know these two districts historically belong to Chikulamayembe Tumbuka population is in these two districts unlike what he think that its for Nkhonde kingdom. Karonga South and Nyungwe for example belong to Tumbuka whose chiefs report to Chikulamayembe. Chigonapamuhanya was so accomodative he was not a war like person when other tribes invaded his territory , information from my great great great grand father to my grand father used to tell us he was ruling his kingdom from Kasungu North down Karonga and Chitipa. Kayira’s in Chitipa are part of Walowoka. Chiefs are custodians of culture not politics as is the case now. Leave politics to politicians. Kids in the north are being forced to learn Chichewa while non of Centrars and Southerners speak Tumbuka,Tonga or Nkhonde dont you see these guys wants to bring down our languages down north. Soon or later these languages will die a natural death. Chichewa will be highly infiltrated down north as is being the case with most youngsters at schools who prefer communicating in chewa than tumbuka. Where is Kgungu to advocate for this?? Busy in politics. shame! I like TA Kalonga he is gentle chief and dislike involved in politics.


  13. patrick says:

    This pple calling fedral are useless. They don’t have real fact 4 calling that system. Let them face another challlenge once system adopted. Akuona ngati akuchenjela

  14. Losers says:

    Can some one remind me how many votes DPP got in Karonga during the recent by election compared to Aford and MCP. Talking about majority in North for this foolish federation. Political losers, badzikwani ndi Chala.

  15. MKWAPU says:

    civil war looks like around the corner!!!!!!

  16. bauleni says:

    this is about jobs not development! nobody is stopping anyone in the North from starting busineses and creating jobs and thus developm! ent? Rich Northeners will still build mansions in the Center and South even when federalism is there! building a house in the North will not fetch as much rent as in LL.pure economics! money follows money.

  17. bauleni says:

    what resources r there to share? sharing of the natioal cake will be population based and the South will beefit the most! who will donors gi wherrve to loans to build schools etc? to which region? donors will start running the country coz they will be able to direct to which region development will occur! who will decide where to build the next hospital? Northeners are by definition job seekers and not business oriented job creators! they hust want plushy jobs for themselves not development!

  18. phodzo says:

    Now you are calling them idiots for just saying no….for holding a different view…..what happened to the ‘educated’ you?

  19. Odala Tili Odala says:

    Adya ma banzi basi

  20. Hello! says:

    In my own view, the call of federalism is similar to decentralization only that the former gives more decision making power to the states. I am pretty sure that federalism is the solution to the inequitable distribution of development that our country is currently suffering from.

  21. Inu says:

    Let me comment some few things on your article. Orton Chirwa had to hand over power to Kamuzu because Kamuzu was considered the likeliest character to find federation since he had been abroad for a long time. Read the history of Malawi thouroughly on the reasons why most of the freedom fighters then wanted Kamuzu to lead MCP.

    If there was a system that could address development concerns in Malawi, which one would have worked better, decentralization at district level or federation? The answer here is decentralization. With each district having a district development committee that is empowered and ready to serve its inhabitants, that system would have made sure that development is spearheaded at local level. A federal governemnt on the other hand is a political institution and as such can or cannot contribute to development. Contrary to district assemblies, federal govenment raises the costs of administration exponetially and considering that we do not have funds even to run a unitary government, where will funds for running several administartions come from?

    Thirdly, we should not be naive that federation will only end at devolving power. In Malawi, it will promote tribalism. Since federal governments are political institutions, politics will dictate how the provincial governments should operate. Just consider America where some states uphold death penalty others not, other states allow same sex marriage others not and others legalized weed while it is a banned substance in others. In Malawi too, federal governments will have these differences otherwise, what would be their purpose? Imagine a federal government in the central without anyone from the north and similarly in the south and north. Will it not be possible for these federal governments to move motions that advantage their regions? For instance, the central region can suggest that we institute quarter system in our operations and that is colleges, workplaces etc in order to make the people from region benefit. Who would stop this? The national government can but still at this level, there will be minority representation from the north.

  22. ujeni says:

    Federal system for Malawi or we remain poor forever with unitary system.

  23. Weniweni Balakasa says:

    Auzeni mvemveve anthu osadziwa meaning ya federalism. Ndi chisomo cha YAWEH zitheka basi

  24. Mulopwana Wa Mamwene says:

    Pano ndasiya kuwonera Tikuferanji wa Manganya chifukwa akuwonetsa kuti Mulhomwe mnzake wamupatsa chibamzi

  25. Jando says:

    Pliz publish this counterjab in the local papers to educate our so called journalists at home. They mislead the ignorant masses alot

  26. innocent says:

    After loosing an election where against any wish a Munthalika goes to power I can understand the pain in most northerners. Mukumva pain! Federation?- following and am for it – muzipita kwanu anthu inu.

  27. Sidix says:

    Ambuli osamvetsawa, akumwera,muwalembere mu chilomwe kuti amve. Zomwe mwanena apa ife a pakati timadzidziwa kale. Mbuli zili ku DPP. National Football team, Capital City, President etc will be the same. But adminstrative powers will be decentralised. Zitukuko zidzidzachitika pa State level.Katangale monga uja a President Peter Muthalika anaba nyumba za MHC zichepa mu federal govt.

  28. Gerry Tombe says:

    Great that some are exposing the lies of those who want a system that only benefits a few. A federal system will ensure competition among states. That is what we need for real development.

  29. well said and well analysed

  30. kweramchanya says:

    What is it that the southerners are afraid of i think they want to use the notion that we are a unitary state and monopolise on development projects under the disguise of large popl in south, mmene zilili pano there is a silent policy yoti aliyense wakumpoto can not ascend to any headship position in the tribalist/nepotistic southern region. Ndiye aliyense wakumpoto and central region if you love yourselves and are thinking of your future generation its a must that you support federalism not tomorrow BUT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Hendrix lombola says:

    Atumbuka musavuka chaka chake ndi chino mwawonekela pambalambanda kuti ndinu a sankho,inu mukakhale phee kuganiza bwino bwino zingatheke bwanji kugawana mofanana ndi zigawo za kumwera ndi pakati pamene ku north kuli anthu ochepa

  32. ES4E says:

    Sounding like good arguments

  33. John says:

    Awuze! Awuzenso kuti ndalama zonse zija anaba, ndi zina za ngongole alipira wokha komwe anakongolako unless they show evidence that it was used for the benefit of the North.

  34. unhappy says:

    Tell them thise idiots knows nothing ,there is no turning back forward ever

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