Federalism: Necessary antidote to eliminate cliquey leaderships in Malawi

It is argued that there exists an antithesis for every thesis that exists in the world. It follows that the calls for a federal system has attracted a fair amount of assertions and counter-assertions. Arguments abound in scrutiny and trivialization of the emerging transformative alliances purveying a federal system in Malawi; I find myself overwhelmed by the temptation to add my voice in support of a groundswell of reasoned calls for a new political framework that permits the formation of subnational governments.

There is asure-fire justification for calls to devolve the state to make it manageable and accountable. The rationale for taking such a stand is drawn from a grossly bungled multiparty democracy which has ushered in a fusion of political and executive regiments, wherein, individualities are masterminded by inward looking values of self-glorification and domination.

Chief Chikulamayembe meeting  presidential advisor Vuwa Kaunda on federal state agenda

Chief Chikulamayembe meeting presidential advisor Vuwa Kaunda on federal state agenda

Beyond human uncouthness is utter governmental averageness caused by constitutional fluffiness which has contributed to the creation of a luxuriant landscape for rationalising politics of nepotism, regionalism and tribalism.

It makes sense to me that an overhaul of the governing structure is needed to tame presidential powers and create equilibrium in the distribution of state capitals. Therefore, I find the emerging civil movement, canvassing for regionally devolved executive and legislative powers, an essential and well-timed alliance to challenge contemporary administrative and political dysfunctions characterized by corruption, mismanagement, unaccountability, exclusion, nepotism, tribalism and inequity. Surely, a reformist debate on the subject matter is long overdue.

I have approached the idea of federalism with caution given that the nation is drawn against the background of ethnic lines. Having learnt how dizzied and dazed politicians become with power, there is the likelihood for misinforming the public coupled with an inherent risk to escalate an insular gulf through the proposed regionalized powers.

Whilst I agree that this arrangement is purely to aid equitable distribution of state capitals, I have this feeling that it will be a monumental effort to educate the masses, cut across the tribally divided electoral course and unite the nation under the spirit of loyalty to statehood principles.

Nevertheless, I am convinced that there is a major premise for pursuing the ideal of federalism as a necessary antidote to starve off egoistical extremes of cliquey political leaderships. Contrary to the conflicting assertions by some misguided politicians and traditional leaders, it is worth noting that the creation of regional governments as subsets of central government will enhance information revelation, local bargaining power and accountability.

Democracy in Malawi has lessons in abundance. One experience stands out for me is that the current political system is established on a foundation which is deprived of moral philosophy. I do not need to say much about the political context that lacks ideological perspectives. I feel every Jim and Jack would wake up one day having formed a new party out of the blue; typical of briefcase parties whose objectives are to capitalise on the inept electoral body and prioritise actions that exploit societal deficits for self-importance.

The house of commotion (parliament) remains a conduit for waning moral responsibility and barefaced deceit.  I can’t stand the conscious and subliminal political prostituting that characterise the legislative house in the aftermath of every electoral process.

So let the political metamorphosis, as constituted in the demands for federalism, be my launch pad for a literal tirade in support of a new governmental structure that resonates beyond politics of “tribal interests” It’s time to think beyond just conducting periodic elections and seek to replace the current governing structure with a distributed federalism.

That time to reduce the basic and sovereign units of the state so as to pave way for the citizen’s influence over it. It is the value of localism contained in the federal system which has capacity to offer the proper outlet for the future of Malawi.

The most regressive development sticking out of the current politicking is the regional clampdown on meritocracy under the pretext of promoting equality of educational opportunity. It smacks of an inner circle in the governmental structure whose agenda is to fuel discriminatory and tribalistic practices in the country.

I argue that any political system that curbs meritocracy is guilty of negating its obligation to advocate a unitary belief of one nation and one people. It becomes an impediment to its own socio-economic development initiatives because of its phoney policy of containing individual skills and talent; all this under ill-advised and skew whiff belief of equitably reordering ability across the tribal divide.

It is one of those developments that make one think that, actually, the current political system is anathema to the idea of democracy. It suffices to say that the current political system has failed to unite the country. Instead, it is fuelling tribal divisions and creating a chain of materialistic leaderships currently enjoying unjustified praise from bootlickers and tribal enthusiasts.

There comes a time when the political system needs to be subjected to an arduous contest to prove its praiseworthiness. Such a challenge emanates from the hearts and minds of the disillusioned, those who feel pushed to the margins of governance and have nothing to lose but make individual sacrifices for the benefits they would never live to revel in.

It is about time a new basis for a transformative civil disobedience is configured to save the country from breaking further into feuding tribal combatants. Not long ago, we witnessed tripartite elections that produced results that, yet again, exposed a voting pattern under propped by regional and tribal undercurrents.

Of course, notwithstanding electoral results cooked from figures which were monkeyed with and the legal hullaballoo that ensued with a concluding constitutional perspective offered by the judiciary. The point I am alluding to, albeit fraudulent statistical results, is that it would be pointless to envisage that a referendum may well produce results to the contrary. The learning curve from these periodic elections is that the country is polarised along regional lines such that tribalism and nepotism have become entrenched in the employment processes.

As other analysts have argued in support of the idea, I feel there are sufficient grounds to rekindle the wheels of change and fuel a civil contest against the present-day socio-political goings-on in order to safeguard the integrity of the hard won multiparty democracy. However, for the emerging reformist idea to translate into a reality, it will require the creation of a unified front to take on an authentic and informed political dialogue.

It will require robust civic guidance to counter attempts by the present powers seeking to advance arguments of ignorance and scare mongering aimed at deliberately misleading the masses. We only need to draw out lessons from how arguments to defend the then one party system were played against those who promulgated the change to multiparty democracy.

Besides changing the governing framework, we also need to consider how political-party behaviour can be managed as this has been the root cause of poor leaderships in Malawi. There is the likelihood that political party behaviour will remain a retrogressive thorn in the proposed federal arrangement.

All in all, it is about time to unshackle the country from this self-serving political brouhaha as I feel we can no longer take sanctuary in a democracy played by constitutionally sanctioned electoral incompetence. We need to adopt a radical stance in order to realise a political system premised on the principles of equity, equality, social justice and moral integrity. No doubt, it is no time for politics as usual but advocate for the state structure founded on the building blocks of governance that are self-cleaning and progressive.

We have to fight for a political arrangement underpinned by ideals of prudence, dignity and altruism. And that the political framework must be self-sufficient in democratically seeking to yield leadership that sustains the sacrosanctity of social and economic impartiality for all in spite of the tribal and regional divide. We should seek to appoint governmental headships whose visionary lenses outdo clannish boundaries and expedite the formation of collectively merited governance cutting across the partisan divide with a sole decree of civilly prioritising national safeties.

It sounds like wishful thinking to envisage that such standards are achievable, given that, the gridlock in our political framework is man’s lack of rectitude and downright tendency to yield to unorthodox entrapments synonymous with actualities of absolute power.

With the will of those driven by the values of patriotism and selflessness, it makes sense to explore progressive routes of governing the country whilst seeking to unite the people within the context of democratic integrity.

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The more I read the more confused I become but the more I crave for more to read.Credits are due to this articulate,intelligent,and well versed author.He has tackled a spectrum of issues,well presented but require a magnified mind to understand.I have enjoyed every phrase more especially the words used to bring a point home.I may not be a fedo fan but have enjoyed reading.Looking forward to more topical issues.




The guy has failed to communicate


Pamene ena akuti sanatolepo ena atolapo mfundo. Ndiye uziziwe kuti chizungu chimakuvuta.

spot on

Ma Nhlane,that is a nice piece,now all the ruling tribe enthusiasists will deny this,we want federalism,federalism woyeee,Ma Nhlane woyeeeee,Ngalonde woyeee,thindabathole woyeeeee,



Federation will not solve anything if we don’t transform our political landscape. We have too much sleepy and incompetent politicians. What they do in parliament nobody knows. Every year, they go to parliament to approve budgets but not asking where are the related plans and where to implement the projects so that each vote is passed in accordance with national priorities. Secondly, they do not start with a reflection and review on how government spent funds during the previous year in line with the plans of that year. All these cries we see now are the fruits of having an… Read more »
The funny thing is how fully awake citizens would wake up very early to go and elect a sleepy and incompetent parliament. But you are right. Federation will not solve the problems as presented by our brothers from the north. It will only legalise the quota system. That is if the regional governments will control education and other social services. Surely the regional government in the centre will not allow students from other regions to suffocate their schools while their own have no places. Remember the Chewa will rather have a half baked graduate than no graduate at all. After… Read more »

Za manyaziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Vuwa and Chikulamajembe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kudziikamo too much, mwaphwa ngati chubu cha njinga mwaonaaaaaaaaaaaaaatuuuuuuuuuuu!!! Osamangodya zimtuwitsa za APM zo bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? Sindinaonenso mbuzi za a tsogoleriiiiiiiiiii ngati iziiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Minister of Education, Emmanuel Fabiano, is the main Architect of Bingu’s and Peter’s Quota System. His speech during his last graduation as Vice Chancellor of University of Malawi testifies to this. He said openly that he is for quota system. No wonder he has been rewarded with a ministerial post. But let him know that it is a mission in vein. The north will always find places for its students elsewhere as he ages and rewards laziness. I still don’t understand the justification for this evil quota system. What advantage do students from the north have over those from Cholo?… Read more »

If Fabiano said this, let him know that he personally in his personal choice drew battle lines with the northern region since the was touching the heart of the northerners.. Now that he is a Minister of education, do we expect anything good from him? In turn does he expect us to have anything to do with him?
If only he said this publicly he rejected the north publicly and the consequences are anybody’s guess


Unfortunately clever as you sound, you have just rewarded him with more voice in parliament by electing a dpp mp in the just ended Mzimba north by election. Educated fools talking too much and doing nothing about it. Bolaniso MCHEWA was nyau. Kuzolowera ukapolo nmakampani ndi m boma


Look at the speakers at the well organised debate, they are all from the North, will this change anything at all. regionalism at its best mungowonongapo nthawi yanu apa. because the debate is not inclusive of other regions, does this means only the Northern people are the ones understanding federalism not in other region? please if you want to make this a national issue spread your wings to other regions other wise this is just a TALK SHOW for us to know who is the best educationist.

My brother, ask Bingu, APM or Fabiano which region was targeted by the quota system. The north is suffering; the north must talk; the north must act now. Which region has one of its sec schools filled only by pupils from other regions and not a single pupil from that region? My friend, if you were near me I would spit on your face rightaway. I ask teachers of N/Bay sec school to stop teaching and relocate to other schools immediately. That school will soon be on fire – we are its custodians but not its beneficiary and we now… Read more »
jessy mtila banda

brother, this was not about any region being targeted, its about sharing the little resources equally. the problem with northners is that they are greedy, they want everything that is for malawi to be theirs

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