Federalism is not a dirty word – University of Malawi law professor

There are a number of rude words that begin with the letter “F”, but federalism is not one of them. Yet, judging by the horrified reactions that have greeted recent calls for converting Malawi into a federal state, federalism might as well be at par with other more notorious f-words.

As has been the case on too many occasions in the past, the federalism debate has quickly descended into emotive quarrels that cloud, rather than clarify the issues at stake.

The clouding of the debate starts with the mixing up notions of federalism and secession.

Kanyongolo:  Federism is not dirty

Kanyongolo: Federism is not dirty

Listening to various talking heads pontificating on the subject, it is rarely clear what the debate is really about. Is this about reorganising Malawi into a federal state? Or is it about secession by the Northern Region and its establishment as a separate and independent state? This question must be answered clearly before we can even begin to have a debate about the merits and demerits of the proposal.

Listening to the main arguments advanced this far, it is clear that the blame for confusing, rather than clarifying the issue lies on both sides of the divide. On the one hand, some proponents of federalism appear to suggest that the future they envisage is one in which a region—in particular the Northern Region—will take full responsibility for its development. It is difficult to see how this vision could be realised within the framework of a federal state.

Typically, in federal states, national economic planning and control of the national purse remains with the central government, as is the case in federal states such as Nigeria, India, Canada, Ethiopia, Switzerland, the United States of America (USA) and Australia.

Typically, the power of regional governments in such federal arrangements tends to be limited; certainly not enough to allow people in those regions, provinces or states to enjoy the degree of autonomy and independence that appears to be envisaged by many of the proponents of federalism for Malawi.

It seems to me that the degree of regional autonomy and independence control of development planning and funding that some proponents are advocating comes with secession. Could it be then, that what we are really debating is secession? If that be the case, then let us call a spade a spade and not pretend that what we are discussing is federalism.

Proponents of federalism have also failed this far, to explain how federalism or secession in and of itself, can cure the problems of discrimination and inequity. This has only succeeded to make the debate even foggier.

Opponents of federalism have not helped matters either. Their only response to those advocating for federalism (or is it secession) seems to be limited to saying repeatedly that the advocates of federalism wish to divide the country. Of course, raising the spectre of disunity is by the opponents of federalism because it appeals to the human being’s primal and instinctive longing for community and fear of separation and isolation.

In most of the responses of the opponents of federalism, I have seen no clear explan-ation of whether what will divide the country is federalism, secession or either. While it is easy to see how secession would mean the end of Malawi’s existence as a unitary state, those who warn of disunity ought to explain how such disunity would necessarily result from having a federal constitution.

If both sides of the argument persist with the confusion and conflation of federalism and secession, the ‘debate’ will be reduced to a shouting match involving expression of political frustrations and old regionalistic prejudices. This will not only be unproductive, but will also obscure what I suspect are the underlying factors that trigger and fuel the calls for federalism or secession in Malawi.

In my view, the calls are merely a symptom of two underlying problems: incomplete implementation of the National Decentralisation Policy and apparent pervasive nepotism in the ruling class.

I suspect that if the decentralisation policy were fully implemented, local authorities in the country’s various regions would wield such amounts of political, functional and fiscal powers that there would be little appetite for federalism or secession.

In the same vein, if successive governments and political leaders since independence had not been as nepotistic as they have been, there would be little reason for any sections of the population to feel marginalised and, therefore, motivated to seek autonomy. Yet, regime after regime, our ruling elites have persisted in nepotistic public appointments, allocation of public resources and public pronouncements.

Does this mean we should, therefore, abandon the debate? Not at all. However, if we want to make progress even at that symptomatic level, let us be clear about what the debate is about.

*  Edge Kanyongolo is a Professor of law at Chancelor College, a constituent of the University of Malawi

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106 thoughts on “Federalism is not a dirty word – University of Malawi law professor”

  1. emmans kaunga says:

    I believe as anation we need to learn and do justice we all belong to mother Malawi. Our leaders do not take us for granted our prayers can decide your destiny

  2. CHEWA FEDERAL FRONT_(CFF) says:

    Let’s see.
    Thengere people, you’ve heard it for yourselves. Federalism won’t help. If you are gonna have the kind of autonomy that you are seeking then try Secession.
    Nyasa @34 has elegantly expounded on a few issues. It is clear that both Edge & Nyasa have offered SECESSION to the Thengeres, on a silver platter. No fuss, no bloodshed!
    The question then arises: Does a PARASITE voluntarily leave its host? Simple answer is a resounding NO.
    My Propositional Logic leads me to conclude that the North cannot secede, even if the president permitted it. The North is TOO DEPENDENT a PARASITE.
    Even so, Thengeres must know that Malawians are eagerly waiting for them to Secede, supposedly on account of GREED-KUDZIKONDA.

  3. che Mbela says:

    The problem in Malawi is depravity of the masses. They are besoted with mindless hatred for each other. Leaders are likewise perverts who formulate discriminatory policies and perpetrate them with impunity. It’s madness; how do you want to rule a people you openly hate so much? Aukila kumene. You Will have no country to rule.

  4. mthakati says:

    One thing is being overlooked. The “north” is not one homogneous region. I would even venture to say the north is culturally more diverse that the south, which is in turn more diverse than the center. We already know some Ngonis in Mzimba would like to declare a Ngoni kingdom of their own. I don’t see the Tongas being content under the umbrella of the “Tumbukas” (trust me on this, I grew up in the north). On the other hand, as a Yao I don’t want to be saddled witbh the Lomwes, if the Mutharika brothers are anything to go by. Do you see where this is going? So forget the federalistic bull, and the sessation sh_t! Let’s admit some mistake and appologize to our northern brothers for 50 years of neglect. Lets implement some form of affirmative action to bring them up to par, and while we are at it, fuck the quotas! Thjhat is the stupidest form of discrimination I have ever heard…..

  5. Nigerian boy says:

    I don’t know about other countries but here in nigeria,the governors are elected by the the citizens just like the president is elected by the citizens also,so the president has limited powers over the governors! Its the constitutionally right for the state house of assembly to impeach a serving state governor for irregularities such as funds embezzlement,corruption e.t.c the president has no power in the nigerian constitution to impeach or remove a serving state governor, we also have a federal legislature a bi-cameral one such as the house of representative(the lower house) and the senate(the upper house) both are referred to as the national assembly,the national assembly have the powers to impeach the president…………the autonomy given to the state governors should not be abused or used to disrespect the office of the president. Though federalism demands lots of wealth for a country to be able to practise it but i must tell you its the best system of government.

  6. Pasan says:

    DIS PROF Z 4M CHIKHWAWA ,KUCHIPINDA CHA DPP.KOMA MACOMENTS AKE GUYS TO B HONEST R FAIR.ON DIS ISSUE LET’S HOLD REFRENDUM.MZOMERA ,MKANDAWIRI,LIVINGSTONIA SYNOD,DD PHIRI,VUWA, MUYAKHULE ZIMODZI NOT MAGANIZO OXIYANA TO REMOVE CONFUSION 4M PUBLIC .

  7. YA says:

    i think we in the south must become an independent covntry.

  8. big man says:

    well said Prof Edge Kanyongolo. It is in fact surprising how the so called leadrned colleagues seem not to understand the centrality of central government in a federal system. I am surprised that even the advocates such as Ngwira himself, Jesse Kabwila and Chakwera are myopic and ignorant about federal state government. So civic education must start with these people before we go to the masses.

  9. Taweni says:

    State govts will be responsible for day to day activities in their states. Central govt will look after the army, collection of national taxes, paying the army and police distributing the national budget to states through parliament etc. Civil service will function as usual. Distribution of state development will be responsibility of federal through parliament and states will decide priorities..

    Some Malawians have run federal govt in RSA. states.

    Citizen

  10. komi says:

    it is a clean word

  11. Mwendanato says:

    I HAVE HIGH REGARD FOR PROF. EDGE KANYONGOLO FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL BECAUSE OF NOTHING ELSE BUT SIMPLY PUT HIS CONSISTENCE WHEN COMMENTING ON NATIONAL ISUUES AS HE HAS DONE ON THIS ONE. BUT WHAT WORRIES ME IS THAT HE HAS JUST TOUCHED OR RATHER DWELT ON THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG . WHAT I WOULD HAVE LOVED FROM HIM IS TO FULLY DISSECT FEDERALISM AND CIVIC EDUCATE BOTH SIDES OF THE DIVIDE TO CLEAR IGNORANCE. SOME HAVE SAID IGNORANCE BREEDS FEAR, SUSPICION, HATRADE WHICH WILL CULMINATE INTO STRIFE OR RATHER WAR. AS THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT HAS BEEN QOUTATED IN TODAY’S PAPERS THAT HE ADVISED CHIEFS TO LISTEN TO THEIR SONS ON CERTAIN ISSUES. WE WOULD LIKE PEOPLE IN THE KNOW TO BRING THIS ISSUE OUT IN THE OPEN AND EDUCATE ALL THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW THIS INCLUDING SOME POLITICAL ELITE AND ONCE UNDERSTOOD LET THE REFERENDUM PUT THIS TO REST . SENDING MZOMERA NGWIRA AND HARRY MKANDAWIRE OUT OF PARLIAMENT OR THREATENING THEM WITH IMPENDING ARREST WILL ONLY HELP TO FUEL THIS MATTER AND GRUDGINGLY IT WILL GO UNERGROUND AND BECOME A TICKING BOMB. THE WORDS OF DEFEAT FROM THE SCOTISH FIRST MINISTER SHOULD BE TAKEN HEED OF. I AM A PROPONENT OF FEDERAL SYSTEM WITH OR WITHOUT IEC. REMEMBER THAT IGNORANCE WILL EVER REMAIN LETHAL WITH OR WITHOUT GLOBALISATION

    1. Jackie says:

      Please resend in small letters for your input to be read and objectively analysed by all. Thanks

  12. Osward says:

    Learned Laywer, with due respect, tired people have little time for discussions than for action that’s walking away to rest.
    Malawian leadership has utterly failed the northern region.

    On a related note, I would propose a lesser evil by saying

    ‘Lets have rotational presidency’

    This will help matters than what we are currently trying to compete on.

  13. chuwa chimo says:

    well said by the prof. And i quote “typicaly in federal state, national economic planning and control of national purse remains with the central government”……..so how will the federal system resolve the problem of inequality and discrimination?.
    Hot debate

  14. Nyandeni says:

    I concur with Prof Edge. There is indeed need for Civic Education. But this is just the begining of things. They start small. Remember the referendum issue? It started small by Chakufwa Chihana. Malawian did not know what he was talking about. But later everybody was talking about it. Referendum became a house hold name.

    Similarly this federation thing will grow and Government will call for another referendum. Just wait. However, Malawians should take caution in that this is not a call for cessation and repatriation as some quarters would like to put it. The federation agitators are just calling for a change in managing our resources whilst we all remain Malawians. It if a form of decentralization. Each region must manage their own resources. Let us not confuse people.

  15. PUTEN says:

    Federalism is not the answer because if we go by how Nigeria is doing in federalism system ,pple in Nigeria still complaining about how money of oil is used . instead of the state producing oil benefiting from the oil ,its other state which is benefiting hence stupid federalism is not the answer.

    Tell us if the system is put in place what will be the roles of our mayors in our cities ,since federalism system of government needs governors to run the state. should we say that both mayors and governors will be paid at once with little resources we have?

    Even federalism system government the government in power will be responsible for every activities in the country for example the issue of reporting issues to UN will be in the hands of the government in power, if any Donor come to our country to support any state the first person to meet will be the head of state not the governor of the state. You can agree with me ,when girls missing in Nigeria the governor was not responsible but the president .

    To me you are fighting a losing game because even in South Africa ,Nigeria and Ethiopia the president is the one who is taking care of the country not the governor .

  16. Nigerian boy says:

    Actually,here in nigeria i can tell you guys that federalism is the best system of government! We have 36 states as federating units and each state has local governments(i can’t explain all here). Federalism in nigeria has ensured equal distribution of wealth and it does not in any way bring division. Before we used to have 3 regions(east,west,north) as federating units but the issue of seccesion still persits so the government had to come up with the creation of states and today we have 36states and the threat of seccession has been reduced to the bearest minimum if not non-existent. So malawians your destiny is in your hands……GOODLUCK! Nigerian boy from uyo the capital city of akwaibom state.

    1. Malawi says:

      Oga, anh anh, you asabi Malawi? We welcome your advice o

      1. Nigerian boy says:

        Yea,i have read alot about malawi recently(through the internet)……..PEACE TO THE ‘WARM HEART OF AFRICA’! Nigerian boy from uyo the capital city of akwaibom state

  17. EDSON JOWELO says:

    ZITSIRU ATUMBUKA AWA

    1. ungwelu says:

      Kodi Dr. Chakwera ndi ena a chigawo cha pakati atsanduka ATUMBUKA? I now believe you are the most idiotic and useless person in the whole country.
      If you do not have any sensible arguments just be quiet osaonetsa umbuli wako.
      I am an educated person from the north but I have not given my views in order to allow other people share theirs. How the learned professor has said is how contributions should go, not your silly and tribalistic approach.

  18. nankhoma says:

    Tiyeni aliyense apite kwao, atumbuka mwazaza kuno kummwera, mwamanga nyumba zanu moti muzikamanga kwanuko. Tiyeni nyamukani muzipita palibenso zovota apa. Nonse munakwatira kuno zipitani tikhale mwamtendere ife kummwera kwathu kuno. Ife akummwera kuno sitikudandaula. Nchifukwa Kamuzu anathamangisa aphunzitsi onse achitumbuka anali ndi maso mphenya, lero ndi izi

  19. Wamandasi says:

    Indeed Kanyongolo is a dirty word. Those countries with federal government the determining factor is size and population. Kanyongolo is a lazy, ungifted and unlucky thinker. Then what makes one a northerner in 2014?

  20. cynk says:

    kukondera mbali ndikomwe kukupangitsa zimenezi ine i vote for federism,

  21. Khumakhuma says:

    We should go for secession and not for federalism so that the North should a different country altogether, then all people of the north go to their country and nobody should be left in Malawi because they will then be foreigners. Let them all leave their belongings what ever they have (jobs, positions without kuwilungula) and anybody clinging to stay in Malawi be deported to their beloved north. I urge the current administration to put down (leave) the planed building of Mombera University so that they can build that when they become Nyika Republic, because they are saying after giving them Mzuni, Reserve Bank,National Bank, roads from Malawi to Nyika Republic, the lake shore road and Chiweta -kacheche from Karonga all the way to the south including Karonga-chitipa road the most recent plus many other developments so numerous to mention. So, let them have referendum for secession in their own region. Anthu osayamika and self-centred awa, we can be better off without them. So, let them go osawanyengelera!

    1. Precious says:

      Let me tell you this, we in the North do not have to thank anybody for the substandard investment you call development in the north because it is our taxes from which you have taken a larger share.
      Going north we will, but you will never inherit the fruits of our sweat! because we have worked to earn. Reaping where you did not sow is not in our culture as it is within some of these aka Lhomwe cultures.

      1. Harris HARAWA says:

        Comment No. 50.1 from Precious only shows that Atumbuka safuna kubwerera ku mapiri aku Rumphi. The Ngonis are just watching since they too want their kingdom. Experiment ya secession or ethnic federalism is quite dumb! Equitable distribution of resources must start within the private sector where the Tumbukas have been practicing tribal nepotism under wakwithu mantra. All the noise now is coming out because it pains them to see the tribes they despise taking up power; and they have terribly failed to take power because Southerners are very street smart to know the behavior of these northerners particularly the Tumbukas and few misguided Ngonis! Go home if you really love the North.

    2. mboma says:

      hahahaha this idiot what is he saying??????? anthu osayamika u mean aziyamika southners??????? for doing what?????? for looting?????????????????????????? between them and u who has looked smart???? they are the ones calling for secetion and what is ur response??????? if u were that smart, u could have asked for this 20 years ago, but alas they have proved to u they are smartr!!!!!!

      1. Mwana M'vonye says:

        You Mboma: Why do you like to call many with different views from yours, idiots? Just comment civilly. Kodi iwe ndiwosaphunzira; ndipo usaname kuti unapita ku University, otherwise you would respect others” opinions. Without name calling!
        The word “idiot” often shows up in your first sentence.

  22. arnold banda says:

    well presented article. The question is decentralisation. The president decides where to allocate money from donors. In any case he knows his birthplace better. I dont think chewas, yaos benefit as much lomwes. So its good for all

  23. Khumakhuma says:

    We should go for secession and for federalism so that the North should a different country altogether, then all people of the north go to their country and nobody should be left in Malawi because they will then be foreigners. Let them all leave their belongings what ever they have (jobs, positions without kuwilungula) and anybody cling to stay in Malawi be deported to their beloved north. I urge the current administration to put down the planed building of Mombera University so that they can build that when they become Nyika Republic, because they are saying after giving them Mzuni, Reserve Bank,National Bank, roads from Malawi to Nyika Republic, the lake shore road and Chiweta -kacheche from Karonga all the way to the south including Karonga-chitipa road the most recent plus many other developments so numerous to mention. So, let them have referendum for secession in their own region. Anthu osayamika and self-centred awa, we can be better off without them. So, let them go osawanyengelera!

  24. johnM says:

    This man has nailed the issue. It is about nepotism, tribalism and regionalism. The successive Governments that have ruled Malawi have done so to benefit their kin at the expense of the rest and that is not on.

    As you put it, a federation will not help as the states tend to have limited powers. I have advocated in various forums that the country should be split. By doing so, people will run their own affairs without others interfering with them.

  25. Kanyimbi says:

    Please, I have been hearing a lot about MZUN with the list of its employees and students being only the MBWENUMBWQENUs or USOVENGEs. Can the government of Malawi release that list so these TUMBUKAS should explain why only Tumbukas areenjoying the facility yet its for the whole country. This is when we say that Tumbuka ndi munthu wozdikonda zedi. Do not let the Tumbukas play their game with the minds of center and south. They are selfish idiots. Let the rot in this system of government. They can go back home if they need one by one.

    1. mboma says:

      when that data comes, also bring UNIMA LUANAR, MUST, then we will have valid data to debate my bro

  26. Gwanya says:

    When the northerners answer their question on feudalism, we the southerners and centralers will answer the question on cessesion. The question will be, Should the Nothern Region cessede from Malawi? We in the South and Central will answer with a big YEEEEEES! After that, game over, kwanunkwanu basi. a nganya onse wawo wakukaya.

    1. Kenkkk says:

      A northern Question is only for the north and answered by the north. On independence, the referendum question will be like should the north become independent? It has nothing to do with the south or centre. So you will not determine the fate of the north, only northerners will.

      Federalism is another matter because it doesn’t break Malawi. How we attain it is again another matter. MCP hAs already suggested the way forward.

    2. Jackie says:

      Just re read your comment. It shows you are a big proof of the quota product!

    3. mboma says:

      and who has challenged southerners and centrallers that north must secede??????? if u were that smart, u could have been the first to do that, unfortunately they have proved their smartness here on south and center people, i mean here is the most hated north both by center and south, and yet south and center cant be that brave to tell them secede, and that suggestion is coming from them????????? they are smart, very brave and this challnge is making peter send vuwa up north to palmoil them??????????? am so ashamed here, north has challenged us and we seem frozen with their open challenge!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Mwana M'vonye says:

        As usual, Mboma has nothing substantial to contribute to these debates. Empty head! Stop reading his garbage.

    4. Devils Advocate says:

      Federalism is what we want for the rest of Malawi!!!! Do not develop Mental fatigue!!!!

  27. Atate with Kamphongo wa kwa Masikini says:

    We will revenge but with a bigger one.

  28. Kanyimbi says:

    Mwana akalira nyanga ya nsasi msemere imufotera yekha. Mwana amalilira pfupa la nyama kumakana mnofu. Tiyeni tiwalole kuti kufuna kwawo kuchitidwe. Koma kuti tikonze za patsogolo zikuyenera kuti ku mpoto kukhale dziko loyima palokha. Nkhani yeni yeni ndi dyera. Podziwa kuti ku mu nyanja ya Malawi muli mafuta akufuna akhale awo okha kuyiwala kuti nyanja ya Malawi ili mu zigawo zonse zitatu.

  29. Don Chigwe says:

    I support federalism as practised in many countries like Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Britain, Japan, America and almost all civilised countries. Those denying federalism do so out of ignorance or greed. We cannot continue to allow the country being run like a personal estate as was done during the single party dictatorship. Malawi is a democracy now and we need to ensure power is with the people to develop their areas. We do not want a President who only recognises people from his tribe as nationals the rest being aliens. Time up for Mutharika dynasty.

  30. MALAWIANS LETS CHOOSE THE GOOD ONE OUT OF THREE, BUT NOT TO DIVIDE MALAWI BUT FOR THE BETTER OF SHARING DEVELOPMENTS AND ECONOMICAL ASPECTS IN MALAWI.

    1. Kanyimbi says:

      Zoonadi izi ndithu.

  31. Linox says:

    This is a rational objective exposition of the debate at stake. If we are to develop as a country Malawi needs politicians and intellectuals who have developmental mind set. At this point federalism is welcome idea otherwise these Pigs will get very fat by our own tax payers money.

  32. amadeus says:

    Excellent review of the debate!

  33. Black Market says:

    Almost all federal nations are today developed, meaning should Malawi goes federal it will develop too. Look at national development and not on regional developments. Those gearing federation are wiser. Quotar system is already federation, if it is a good practice why should today the actual federation be regarded as bad?

  34. kuchitekete says:

    What I see in most comments is hot air masquerading as facts! Malawians, let’s read widely before debating because we may end up debating on useless topic

  35. Funso ndi lakuti kodi mapresident omwe akhalapo apangapo chiani kuno ku mpoto Pa zaka 50? Answer=palibe. Then we opt for Nyika Republic!

  36. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    The good professor aptly lists Nigeria, India, Canada, Ethiopia, USA, Switzerland and Australia. He missed South Africa, which (with Nigeria) is very relevant in this discussion. It should be pointed out, as a matter of fact and truth, that the South African model was based on Canada’s too.
    Study these countries: they are all huge geographically (except Switz.); rich and sophisticated and diversified economically, abale inu. There are big differences between provinces in Nig and in SA; you’d think some of the poor provinces do not belong to those countries. The differences are palpable if you visit these countries.
    Secession should not even be in the cards. The north or center cannot survive as independent entities for more than a decade. Donors will soon get tired of another African “country” permanently stationed outside their legislatures, begging with cup in hand! Some of my northern friends know this; so they start to push for federalism.
    Back to the question of economics: who is going to pay for another level of government? Where is the money going to come from? We should remind ourselves that our annual budget, as a nation as we stand, is less than the annual budgets of many public universities in North America!!!!!!!!!!
    Tobacco is a sunset industry (Central Region, check). Chikangawa is not sustainable; and precious minerals like uranium have only ephemeral benefits (Kayerekera, anyone? Northern region,, check). And if there is oil under our lake, who would actually own it, and what would be the costs of drilling accidents, down stream? These are not hypothetical questions.

    1. johnM says:

      Can the whole of Malawi survive as state without donors? Malawi has survived on donor support for the last 50 years and you are saying that the other two regions will not survive as independent state based on what?

      Of the three regions of Malawi, the Centre and North are the wealthiest as far as Agricultural production is concerned. The North seems to have a great deal of mineral wealth. If that potential is tapped, the North would be wealthy indeed.

      1. mboma says:

        JohnM,
        am surprised about that idiot also, when a country wants to secede, how they will live is never the concerns of the opressor!!!!! he should look at how south can survive without north and central agricultural products!!!!

  37. Nyasa says:

    Prof. Kanyongolo, you will agree with me that employees at Chanco, Bunda, and Poly come from all the three regions. Why is it not the same with Mzuni? Answer this question honestly in your heart.

    The demand for federalism here is not out of good faith and everyone from the center and south knows this. You have rightly said that there have been inequitable distribution of resources in all the past regimes, including Joyce’s regime where the proponents of this federalism were at the driving seat. Why did they not implement it that time?

    Now with the case of Mzuni in most Malawians’ mind, do you really think Malawians from the South and Center can accept devilish federalism? Malawians know that Tumbukas want to eat their resources alone in the name of federalism but at the same time come to the South and Center to share our resources. I am from Dowa but I bet you if Chanco was in the North, I wouldn’t be here. You and I are here working because Chanco is in the South and not in the North.

    I for one, would ask you guys from the North to talk about secession and not federalism. Go and eat your resources alone and leave us with ours. Please stop being selfish for God sake. Please go for secession and not federalism. Many of you from the north are for federalism and not secession because you are selfish.

    I rest my case.

    1. mphenembe says:

      kkkkk,you are talking trash iwe nyasa,if northeners were meritoriously dominating in institutions which were based in south,what can stop them to dominate on merit the institutions in their own backyard,ask youself why quota was introduced when ministry of education,MANEB,presidency wer/aere all under a sourtherner always,if you will realize that to dominate in positions its not northeners fault buit their intellect,its when you will realize your sentiments on mzuni is as childish as your brain,and with this reasoning you are at chanco? lord have mercy,no wonder you people are desperatly crying for quota system because on merit,simungaphuledi kanthu,uku ndikulumala mmutu kwa ntundu wa anthu uku ndithu

  38. zowona says:

    u are insightful,

  39. God Hear Me says:

    When the merit system was benefiting people from the north you tumbukaz you kept silent chifukwa munkabera mayeso and ended up dominating every where. ku university kumene mmawuzirana haaaaa. Pano tinakutulukirani ndipo mukudziwa kuti President othetsa kota sadzawinanso mwayamba kulira. Palibe whether with federal or not quota basi by the way study the different systems and the best practices and approaches to federalism applied by different governments which are federal ( The international Council of Federal Countries- The Forum of Federations) you will find that ndiye kulinso Quota ya nyooo. So I do not know what you are trying to fight for.

  40. Nyondo says:

    Wa ku Mzuni uja ma qualifications ake anachita kubera. Ife we know his history. Most people do not take him seriously. He is a lost guy.

  41. mpopoma says:

    Don’t talk abusive words here .bring facts. Dull lomwes.

    1. Harris Harawa says:

      I have seen very dull Tumbukas who could not teach because they were speaking in CAPITALS as if they swallowed a BIG STONE. So, who is dull?

      1. More Stupidity says:

        What about a professor who speaks like he has marble or hot sweet potato in his mouth. Is he a real law professor by the way? He behaves like a typical villager from molele.

  42. Zomba Simeon says:

    Prezdent othetsa quota system sazawinanso,Ma southerners tatero.

  43. Harris Harawa says:

    The professor has avoided the inevitable. He knows he underlying issue is that nepotism is bad only if done by tribes in the south and centre but acceptable when done in the private sector by the tribes in the North. For example, the quota system in education is the equitable distribution of the educational opportunities, which federalism calls for! Yet advocates of federalism hate the quota system, but opt for nepotism hidden in federalism argument when it is done by and for the North! Kanyongolo has just been academic here and must sober up because I know he knows where these unnecessary arguments for federalism or secession are coming from as they are not made in good faith. Had they been made in good faith Southerners would welcome northerners to return to the north for southerners to run the show in the companies that exist because of the large market in the south. Kanyongolo call a spade a spade!

    1. Kenkkk says:

      Federalism has nothing to do with the education quota system. Federalism is not synonymous to quotas.

    2. TSAMBA says:

      no,its just that kanyongolo reasons better than most of you guys,so quota was introduced on good faith? Lord! you people think you can trick us? who doesent know quota was introdued because you sourtheners failed to compete on merit? now federalism is good then,for wat are you going to lose if norheners leave your sourthen based NGO’s? your arguments so cotridictory,kkkk its difficult for you guys to interpret what Prof kanyongoro means in this article,thus typical of you,how can a population of 14+ million people fail to compete on merit and feel threatened by a small population of about only one million northeners to the extent introducing quota system? is that not a disability?

  44. ninina says:

    mtumbuka kuda ndimumtima momwe ngati kuphazi kwa nyani

  45. kukhala says:

    YEAH THESE ARE THE PROFESSORS MALAWIANS NEED . NOT JUST HAVING TITLE(S) PRO, DR WITHOUT CONTRIBUTING POSITIVELY TO ISSUES AFFECTING MALAWIANS BUT JUST LOOTING THE MALAWI RESOURCES . MORE INPUT BY THE OUR OWN MALAWIAN PROFESSOR . I HAVE LEARNT SOME PRACTICAL SENSE IN YOUR CONTRIBUTION PROFESSOR

  46. Malawianmom says:

    WE ALSO NEED TO BE CAREFUL OF THIS. ARE PEOPLE DOING IT GENUINE, OR THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY WILL BE ABLE TO CASH GATE THE MONEY IN THIER REGION. WE NEED TO SCRUTINIZE EVERYTHING.

    I SEE SOME LEADERS WANT TO HAVE SOME UPPER HAND ON THIS. LET US WATCH OUT.

    IF THIS GOES WELL, THEN ITS GOOD THAT WAY SOME OF THE JOB IN ETHIOPIA WILL BE SHARED TO ALL SINCE AT THE MOMENT NORTH DOMINATE ALL THE JOBS.

    NOT BAD AT ALL GUYS. KOMA ANTHU ENA ANGOFUNA MOBELA NAWO NDALAMA.

  47. chawezzie says:

    lookng at the tax income, general economy and infrastructure deveolopment of the North i thnk seccession cant help but Federalism can largely work by promotng checks and balances to the central gonvernment thru Regional Governors who are regionally elected hence no fear of the presidents reshuffle.

  48. God Hear Me says:

    What is A federation?
    It is a political entity characterized by union of partially self governing states or regions under a central (federal) government. In a federation the self governing status of the component states as well as the division of power between them and the central government, are typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party, the state or the federal political body.

  49. Mphatso Moses Kaufulu says:

    Maybe now that a professor has asked the same questions the rest of us have been asking people will take them seriously.

  50. Nobel says:

    Ine ndimadabwa kuti koma kulankhula uku ndikwa professor? I now know who is th real professor, not in USA but in Malawi.

  51. Zomba Banda says:

    It is indeed true that Malawians need to be civic educated on these issues.They should be well documented in a way that even an illiterate individual should see the way. The proponents should not go for it on tribal grounds but rather understand the concept of federalism in and out. Again the opponents should not also reject for the sake of opposing but rather understand the substance of federalism if its worth obstruction. Furthermore, the government should not be biased on this but rather let alone the parliament to table it and come to a conclusion otherwise this will derail other important commitments of national interest,

    1. Devils Advocate says:

      Njila ndi imeneyo!!!!

  52. Kamphenda says:

    intelligent people never rule…others will wonder if there are inteligent people at all. but i will rule my world. Isit needful to be/goog intelligent?

  53. Fathi Shehab says:

    federalism questoon interrstingand i support yhe devate process.
    my understanding is zat those advocating think this will solve politicsk qyestons being faced by the nirth &centre….. maybe? surely the leaders ciming from yhe south past 15-30years have disappointed malawuans more abd ee have rnded up in cashgate sin” more poverty and akson poor educational standards,insecurity and economically impridobed with debts….
    anhawatu akadatithanduza tonse cos chipani chawo stlands for national agendas not tribal l praises etc ….eeetu tdutsani!

  54. Quota system says:

    I respect the Prof for his objectivity and level headedness. He is a practising Professor worthy listening to. True, no one should be gagged, whether for or against the federalism. The debate has been provoked by the perceived naked nepotism against certain groups of people. Not only north because the centre is also agitating for the same. Let there be free debate with openness.

  55. makito says:

    Thumbs up, balanced article. The train is leaving the station, you can either be on board or be left behind. Sober debate is an imperative.

  56. Dadaboma says:

    Edge, with the nepostic political regimes we’ve had for the past 50 years Malawi cannot continue in the present unitary centralized state. We want to try federal system of government where some form of autonomy (not complete autonomy) can be given to each region. In a way this would be the ultimate or apical form of decentralization far exceeding what a unitary state can afford its regions. This is the argument, not secession. If, however, calls for federation do not yield desired results but insults (as we get now) and carpeting or stifling of the calls (as govt is attempting to do) then we’ll have no choice but to fight for secession and do so energetically, enthusiastically and successfully. I repeat: we want federation. If federation is refused us we will go for secession as a last resort. I hope this clears the mist or fog you’ve raised prof.

  57. khang'a ndine says:

    wankota sakandira pachabe

  58. Patriot says:

    It is much better than a stinking “N” name for NEPOTISM

  59. Kenkkk says:

    It is stupid if someone doesn’t know the difference between federalism and independence (secession).

    I have seen many people who comment here that fall into the ignorant category on these two issues.

    1. Changululu says:

      Kenkkk, Ndimaona ngati unada kunja kokhatu, sindimadziwa kuti ndi mtia omwe.

      1. Kenkkk says:

        Changululu, you just think you know me but you don’t me know. I am not what you think I am.

        Federalism has really hurt you my brother, mpaka kufika pamenepo?

        I am Immune to insults or personal attacks. I just enjoy giving my opinions, whether right or wrong!!

  60. cashgate1 says:

    I don’t think one called Jamie (3) really googled the right site, probably he should share the links. Actually the opposite of what he as said is true. Be objective in your comments and let no hatred overcrowd your thoughts.

  61. dx says:

    Surely pro. the debate on federalism is inevitable.

  62. Edison C Ngoma says:

    Indeed,without defini ng the basis of the debate,we end up with a lot of hot air masquerading as “facts” and polarising the populace over a `non-issue’ PLEASE?

  63. Vyachalo says:

    It need good timing and civic education expecially to uneducated people who are against federalism now

  64. Moses says:

    I agree with Kanyongolo that there is no civil education on the meaning of federalism and session and how the two systems operate. We are not supposed to be defensive on this issue but we should discus these issues with all information at the table.

  65. chilungamo says:

    This is a good writing,Prof kanyongolo is the caliber we malawians need for leaders,but alas,the people we chose as leaders are a total disgrace,this article shows its a professor’s work,let me ask malawians this question,are Peter mutharika’s qualifications legitimate? How can he fail to realize that Malawi was divided after the elections and hence the need for uniting governance,not the lhomwe promotion scheme he is at right now,am questioning mutharika’s qualifications as a lawyer,he is the type of guys who download qualifications on internet and come back home cheating people that they have legitimate qualifications,as maturity in age must be translated into how he thinks and acts,not just age,am in my twenties but if I was president,I would know that Malawi is already volatile with the election after-math hence be sensitive not to be governing using favouritistic and nepotistic polices like he is doing,

    1. mboma says:

      i adore what u have written my bro GOD bless u, i think Kanyongolo is a a very rational guy who is not nepostic, we need such leaders in malawi, the guys says it in simple terms that if past govt were not nepotistic, people would be calling for secessation thats a fact!!!!! shameless lomwelisation of country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  66. Angel of Doom says:

    Well said Professor.

    The only problem we have ,is the fact that nepotism is so entrenched, so much so that, even if people try to reason, they are not able to.

    We have in the recent past put people through the education system, people who by definition already reached their level of incompetence, and we turned a blind eye and pretended we were created a future elite workforce.

    What we have ended up with is a group of a half backed elite who can not reason beyond self indulgence, hence CASHGATE.

    I can only hope that we will be able to differentiate, federalism from secession, which most on this page have erroneously called cessation, wich given the current state of affairs might be ominous.

  67. Jamie says:

    Northeners just google, you will find out that the disadvantages of federalism outnumber the advantges. Even its impact. With federalism it doesnt mean that the president will appoint equal numbers of ministers from each region. In federalism wealth is not shared equally among regions. Koma ndawona apa ndi choti kanyama aka kamtumbuka ndi kabuluzi. Zitsiru zedi atumbuku. Nchito kupanga brainwash ana anu ndi maganizo opusa. Afiti. Nyasi zenizeni.

    1. Baba wa Boyi says:

      If we end up with federal state, it is not only the North that will be federal, it is the whole country. I would advise you to read what Kanyongolo has said properly, and come up with good arguments.

      Bvuto ndiloti, you can not understand this write up, you are a beneficiary of Quota system of Education.

      1. Harris Harawa says:

        Commentator No. 3.1: I thought quota system in education is the equitable distribution of the educational opportunities, which federalism calls for! It appears all you need is nepotism by and for the North! Sober up, please!

        1. Kenkkk says:

          Quota system Is not equitable distribution of education opportunities because education is academic merit based. You pass exams. As long as it punishes students with academic excellence, then it is not equitable. Our quota system reduces good established education standards.

          1. Sec-specialist says:

            Kenkkk, what should really be done about those not from the north,( yes since most if not all of you guys from the north seem to think that it is only you who pass so well that none others compete) who nonetheless get grades good enough to enter university? You will agree that the UNIMA and others have set minimas for entry meaning that whosoever reaches these can and should get into university. You will also agree that our universities are just too few yet the demand for higher education is ever so high. So should these others from non-northern districts be let to rot? I know and I bet you have heard about ‘affirmative action’ which I would like to believe is the case in our land. A deliberate policy was put in place by government because we sure would not like to have one group of people having all the education at the expense of another. Liken this scenario to your cries for equitable distribution of development. I say you have a case there. However, you can not want to have what you are crying for and at the same time take away other peoples aspirations. You should also remember that this problem arises because university education is virtually free/cheap in our land as it is heavily subsidised by our taxes unlike when/if everyone was paying like in other countries and only those who could afford it enter university. The only solution to our problems is have more universities built and let everyone who meets the minimas enter. But lemme assure you guys that a lot of other young people from other regions are suffering similar fates to those from the north. hence the greater need to strategise as a nation to tackle this problem.

          2. Kenkkk says:

            Sec specialist, I hear you loud and clear but at the end of the day we come back to quantity versus quality and most of all what is best for Malawi? Is it best for Malawi to have mediocre students go to university or academically excellent students go to university? We should not focus on regionalism but focus on what is good for Malawi. For example if a foreigner comes in and asks for the best students from Malawi, are you going to produce the mediocre students leaving the academically best students? By quota system we are diluting the academic standards of malawi when compared to other countries. You think you are punishing the north but actually punishing Malawi.

            To excel academically is hard work and it is for that reason that I don’t agree with the myth that northerners are better than others academically. I have seen and been with with many non north Malawians who are far much better than northerners academically. Northerners just work harder on education, just as say a Yao work harder on businesses than northerners. And as you well know business is where the money is!!

            My take is that no one whether northerner or non northerner who has excelled academically should be left behind whilst someone worse off academically whether northerner or not should be taken to university. Now there are even more universities now than in the 70s and 80s so why deny academically gifted children their right to higher education?

            Building more universities doesn’t resolve the inequity of the quota system. The whole country is given the same education, the same books, the same syllabus, etc so whoever excels should be given the first bite of university place. The current unima critetia is flawed, they should oh back to the 7os and 80s selection criteria based on merit.

            You talk about affirmative action, it doesn’t lower education standards as the quota system of malawi does nor does it lower candidates job qualifications. Those blacks chosen by affirmative action have exactly or better qualifications than whites but were being excluded simply because of their skin colour. It doesn’t mean poor grades or poor job qualifications.

            The only exception I can make for Malawi are for girls and Muslim districts. Girls from all regions have been traditionally disadvantaged as they were being forced into early marriages rather than education. Muslims preferred the Koran rather than western education. But for the rest of the country, I see no reason for anyone who has excelled academically to be denied access to higher education.

            At the end of the day there will always also be many people who don’t have good grades but still go to the university. I have no problem with that as long as those with better grades are not penalised. That is what was in the 70s and 80s.

          3. Waa says:

            This is a reply to Sec-specialist.

            Your arguement is flawed.

            Are you saying all these years, it was Northerners who were responsible for selecting others to go to university?

            When Kamuzu academy first opened, Dr HK Banda publicly said Only good students will be allowed, and directed that students should selected on merit, and Tembo was incharge. When the list was given to Dr Banda, all students were from the North, how do you explain that?

            What we have in Malawi is not affirmative action its a “Stitch up”

          4. Sec-specialist says:

            Please don’t tell lies for whatever purposes. I am quite conversant with the beginnings of Kamuzu Academy and from the word go, the policy of admission had always been 2 good students per district. this was his way of ensuring that equal opportunity was presented to all districts as the school was run of tax payers money. You don’t have to score similar grades to be rated good. You must meet a set standard.
            Pleaaaaaase!

    2. Gender Activist says:

      This is exactly what Kanyongolo is talking about – people like you looking at federalism in a kutukwana way. In fact, had the same article carried the name Thindwa, you would have spat unprintable words. You do not read, you only respond according to the author’s name rather than the content of the author’s write up.

      Thank you Dr. Kanyongolo for expanding the debate from a new angle. But I see your analysis still falling short on the reasons for the demand for federal systems by people of the northern region. What are the circumstances that have led to the build up of this demand. Are such experiences real or only imagined by the people of Northern Malawi? Would a federal state BENEFIT only the north or all regions. Your last 4nparagraphs rightly mention that devolution of power through decentralization has deliberately been put aside by all governments that have come and gone. Why, and how has this hit the north hardest? These are federal debate issues that must be openly discussed and not covered up.

  68. Akweni says:

    Anthu a nzeru ayankhula,big up Mr Kanyongolo,you make us proud to be Malawian.

  69. John says:

    Here is a prof who is knowledgeable enough to know what he is talking about. Unlike that MZUNI Prof. Good article!

    1. Devils Advocate says:

      EDGE Kanyongolo is my Man on this!!! Ena awo they are Boot lickers!!! Kuwopa Mantha Basi!! Umaopa chimene chimakuopa!!!

      1. TSAKHO LIMENELO says:

        Lets see if APM will make move of arresting Professor of Law at university of Malawi

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