Mutharika proposed federalism for Malawi in 2006 – report

As Malawians continue to add their voices to calls for federalism, it has emerged that President Peter Mutharika proposed federalism and proportional representation in the country, describing them as two possible ways of doing away with concerns of regional marginalisation.

President Mutharika called for federal state

President Mutharika called for federal state

Addressing the National Constitutional Review Conference in Lilongwe, held from 28 to 31 March 2006 titled ‘Towards a More Manageable Constitution, Mutharika, then professor at Washington University School of Law in USA, publicly proposed federalism while addressing the issue of national unity.

According to published reports, this is sharp contrast to his latest statements condemning calls for federalism, a principle he proposed in 2006.

Mutharika recently advised political and religious leaders not divide the nation with calls for federalism or secession.

In the paper, Mutharika claims that proportional representation worked well in countries like Namibia, South Africa and Mauritius, urging Malawians to borrow the leaf from those countries.

Making a case on the federal system of government, Mutharika also used the Nigerian government, saying “Another and perhaps more radical response (are) to simply abolish the three regions and create the district as the basic administrative unit.”

The paper says Nigeria successfully resolved the problems that were created by the existence of its three regions at the time of independence in 1960 into what are now 36 States and one federal territory.

“While the initial decision to abolish the regions led to war, Nigeria is now a much more unified and stable country,” he said.

When asked by Malawi flagship daily The Nation newspaper  to comment on Mutharika’s ‘conflicting’ statements, Press Secretary Frederick Ndala argued that the Presidents still holds the views he voiced in 2006, saying his position on the matter has not evolved.

But Chancellor College based political commentator, Joseph Chunga noted that although the President proposed federalism some years ago, he would not be comfortable to stand up for it now given the power he has now as Head of State.

Chunga said a federal system of government would not offer him much control of the State than in the current unitary State.

“If the President’s opinion on federalism has not been changed, then it is very unlikely that his party would go against it.

“I don’t expect the Information Minister or any government official to go against the idea when the President was for it. But still more, we have to ask; why was the President referring to a document that has views that he is now against? It does not help matters at all,” said Chunga.

But Information, Tourism and Culture Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa recently said government would ask the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and other stakeholders to facilitate debate on the matter.

Meanwhile, PAC has resolved to hold a a national stakeholders forum on inclusivity and federalism November 24 and 25 under theme ‘Enhancing a Common Understanding on Inclusivity and Federalism in Malawi.

The conference will engage speakers on federalism from abroad, in particular from countries practising the principle.

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65 thoughts on “Mutharika proposed federalism for Malawi in 2006 – report”

  1. chefourpence says:

    Bullshit! That was an academic opinion! Its like telling Trapence not to marry a woman because he spports gay rights! APM is practically running the country not cooking some political theories in an academic paper!

  2. hidgeman masina says:


    1. Kenkkk says:

      The biggest mistake we can make is to assume or think that federalism will solve most or all the problems we currently have. It will not.

      Unless there is strict enforcement of our laws and good governance throughout the central and regional govts under federalism, we will end up with exactly the same problems we are facing now under the unitary system like unequal development or share of resources, cashgates, nepotism, tribalism, regional dictatorship, etc. These problems and many others can’t be overnightly swept away or shoved under the carpet simply because there is a federalism.

      For federalism to succeed we will have to tackle exactly the same problems we have now at Central and regional level as well.

      Unfortunately for northerners and to some extent the centre, the presidencey will always remain with the South, a monopoly of the South unless a rotational element is introduced or some constitutional changes are introduced on the presidency. Much wil depend on what we choose as our priority, is it development or power or both?

      Then it will be federation Oyeeeh!!!

  3. OBAMA says:

    Manganya, Tamani and those who talk rubbish about federal system if you don’t understand it please go and ask your Form 3 and Form 4 students who are doing Social Studies in secondary schools they will lecture you better than lies that you are propagating on MBC, Galaxy radios, TV and churches. Rev. Tamani please know that the money will be identified in the states and channeled to the office of the President. Make a research before you start talking rubbish.

  4. patrick banda says:

    the only thing We need in these seconds is federalism..impliment it at all cost..

  5. Mmalawi says:

    Federal Yemweyo

  6. Anonymous says:

    i dont like federalism am not part of it am sorry

    1. Greencardless Malawian says:

      Takumvani a pitala

  7. VYOTO says:


  8. The Patriot says:

    It was the Tumbuka or Northerners who started this, its His Excellency The President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika! Tisamvenso kuti ofuna Federalism are selfish, kukhala kunyoza boma, even Peter Mutharika supports federalism! Kikikikikiki, mutipo bwanji pamenepa a Tamani ndi anzanu? Vuto loyankhula musanafufuze umameza osanatafune! Federaalism is one of the solutions to prevent a catastrophe in Malawi, please lets not wait until anthu afepo!!


    I’m reminded of that beautiful song “We got love” by the Osmonds(Don & Marie-brother/sister) or that Fat Boy who asked in his rap remake of a reggae classic: “Now that we’ve gotten love what are we gona do with it?”
    If the contents of this article are correct then we have Federalism “in the bag”, meaning, its implementation is guaranteed. In fact, we will not even need a referendum.
    But then, again, I am a Chewa ‘Fat Boy’ & must still ask whether, under Federalism, Chewas will continue to “flock” to the North to seek jobs when our state is given its “share” of funding by the Federal Govt. It doesn’t sense to me.
    The devil of this thing will almost certainly be in its detail. I wouldn’t rejoice just yet!!!

  10. rational says:

    did you ask joyce banda to state where she stood on the matter of ‘gays’. peter is too smart, he will not tell you his position. he is a leader so he has opened the debate. mukufuna akayankhula mumutukwane mumpezere zifukwa. mukhaula

  11. cash gate says:

    To me, federal can change this nation to better, we can hv a regional competition interms of develpment, lets adopt it.

  12. Mbwiye says:

    Much as I would support federalism and that Prof APM proposed it some 8 years ago, where was the crazy Mzomera and his cronies? Why did they not support him that time? Why did they wait for general elections results to be out then start making noise just because they were whipped badly? This is why Malawians think this is not done in good faith. If PP won the elections would this come out? To me, anything good but badly presented at a wrong place and at a wrong time and said when one is angry with full of emotions can not be taken seriously. People will think Nzomera introduced it not in good faith but because his party was heavily bruised and because he is a failed and disgruntled politician. The same way Bingu introduced Zero deficit budget after being angry with the AZUNGUS, nobody took him seriously, yet today Malawi has adopted the same system just because it has been introduced properly. Mzomera has a lot of work to convince me that he is doing it in good faith, otherwise my vote is a big NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Muchizi John says:

      Mr. Anonymous Mbwiye, why should Mzomera waste his time convincing a dunderhead like you. Don’t overvalue yourself. Federalism will come to pass just like multiparty did despite many people opposed it.

      1. Greencardless Malawian says:

        Couldn’t agree with muchizi john more

  13. MKULUMADZI says:

    wz costution review n 2oo6? t wz n 2007,it nt new pita to suport t even in 2011 Wen He Wz Minister Of Justice Had Public Lecture At Mzuni Where He Highlight Important Of It.

  14. Mc Chigubu says:

    I haven’t received my Oct salary yet,,, so I’ll not take part in commenting on this shit!! Zausiru sindimafuna

  15. Kikikiki says:

    I’m from Thava ( hhhm) didn’t no kuti petalo ndiwa sankho chonchi. Hey kutereku he wants nyika people to go..where are all those vile comments towards atumbuka ; hee anthu oipa, anthu asankho, nyasi , cancerous to this nation; and now gogo wathu has come out of its shell.. Multi chani tsapano.
    Let’s learn a thing or so from them, period! They have got some issues to shout about that needs to be addressed, simpliz. Kaya zanu izo!!!

  16. Kenkkk says:

    Was Peter still a professor at washington uni in 2006? Was he not in Malawi and in govt then? Or was he just giving a speech or lecture while he was visiting the uni from Malawi ? That was 8 yeArs ago!!!

    He talked about proportional representation which is not federalism? Nigeria yes but South Africa is not officially recognised as a federal state in the true meaning of it!!!

    At the moment peter and his dpp mafioso are against federalism but encouraging debate on it because they are being forced to do so by popular demand.

    Peter needs to come out and tell
    Malawians where he currently stands on the matter.

  17. gulukunyinda says:

    Listening to moslem body reasons for refusing federalism you tend to wonder whether they are learned. Ati antju ena anakwatira zigawo zina komanso ali ndi katundu kumeneko? Really, moslem leaders, stop embarrasing yourselves







  19. Mr.Bambo says:

    Kkkk this reminds me of a newspaper that was there during our days as students in the old Capital City called” The Enquirer-Doing the digging for you”.Kkkkk koma ziliko zaka zake ndizino!!!!

  20. Kenkkk says:

    That was 8 years ago!! You are all beating about the bush!!

    Let Peter tell us now where he stands on federism!! What he said 8 years ago is not relevant now despite being interesting, he should let us know his current position on the matter!!!

    We don’t want some of you to speak on his behalf. He has his own mouth!!! Let us hear from The horse’s own mouth as they say!!!

  21. Vavlov says:

    While there might be some merit in federalism or sessionalism,, can advocates of these governance systems clearly articulate the pros and cons so that I can appreciate their motivation. My worry is that those at the forefront of the campaign are doing it for their personal motives and greed. They believe they will be able to govern and deepen their hands into the public till. Firstly these people should be analyzed then their motives will laid bare. The campaign in my view should be on the elimination of tribalism, nepotism and promotion of equality among all Malawians. Malawi shouldn’t tolerate one tribe dominating all sectors of the economy, what’s special with the Lomwes, witchcraft or what? Malawians should find better ways of rebeling against nepotism an tribalism, sessionalism or federalism won’t solve the problem. Find better ways of dealing with inequality in Malawi. Don’t be intimidated. Deal with it decisively.

  22. Kadakwiza says:

    As I always say, Malawi was divided long time ago when MCP was in power. Now it is time to make it official. To me federal system will not work for northern region but secession. So next year 2015 Malawi will be divided into two, and will be Malawi and Malano. Viva secession viva Malano!

  23. ujeni says:

    He is the one who started it all. His own agenda in black and white. He should man up and implement it

  24. bayoz says:

    Nyasatimes, peter and all those supporting federalism, lets not mislead each other here. I have been to nigeria and if you are saying nigeria is unified now then you are wrong, unless if you have your own measures of unification otherwise nigeria is divided into northern and southern part and the two are in incomplete harmony, southerners are mostly christians and do not like northerners while the northern population which is mostly muslim is not happy with the way development projects are allocated. Do your research right. Now in malawi federalism can not work, the country is small and dividing it into states will simply render those states infeasible to support and sustain the social economic systems and other essential systems within those states. And most malawians are too dumb to understand federalism and instead of curbing, it will foster the already existing regionalism and tribalism

  25. Phwitiko says:

    The President did a good job with his lecture by enlightening some blind Malawians that indeed we are divided & the solution is Federalism & proportional representation & not selfish unitary state. I wonder why some Malawians are so myopic not to understand the concept. Mind you Peter is a real Prof. His lecture was rich with facts which now must be implemented. If now he decides to abort the idea then we must not trust him because that is greed. A good leader must live the talk.

  26. chams j says:

    The hatred for northeners will take us nowhere. And to agree with what one said, though the issue seem to hv been proposed by legislators frm the north, very few northerners are in support of this nde kuyankhula mopusa kumanyoza anthu akumpoto cannot help.Mwina ndi umbuli, go back to the history of this country u will find that northners hv contributed to the liberation and development of this country from way back in time. Even this time around we hv northeners in the media, showbiz, sports,etc who do this country a lot of pride and yet you continue to pour insults on them. This hatred will take Malawi nowhere. And its such hatred openly shown to the northeners that make some of them to propose the idea. Its not good to blame other people for yone’s failures. That’s a weakness. Don Miguel Ruiz says “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream…” Its like ufiti where u kill somebody because of jelousy but you get nothing from it. Let’s join hands to build Malawi and not live like we are still in the dark ages.

  27. Phwitiko says:

    Some Malawian are naive & mediocres. The president then wise Prof. did a good job of enlightening the nation firstly by telling us that indeed Malawi is divided & secondly that the solution lies in Federalism & proportional representation which I totally agree with him. If now he decides to abort the idea then it clearly shows how he must not be trusted any more. A good leader must live his|her visions.

  28. Wanyanya says:

    Has APM ever said no to federalism or said the issue should be debated? As an individual,he is entitled to his opinion and that doesn’t mean we will all fall for it

  29. san says:

    akuluwa ndi odwala mutu kungowamvesa sankaziwa chomwe ankanena….mmaziwa aziphunzitsi amakamba zambiri nde kungomumvesa

  30. chatonda says:

    Usually what someone says when he is outside the government and when he is in government is DIFFERENT. Peter can never support federation now and this will ever fall. Noone will support this selfish endeavor.

  31. vwivwivwi says:

    fedulo ibwere bas tione zina,matipate nthawiyo amati ndi nkhondo koma mpaka pano nkhondoyo sikuchitika.peter samadziwa kuti pansi pa ulamuliro wake kuzakhala nkhaniyi.tikambirane moona mtima iyambike feduloyo.

  32. Kwado Nguyen says:

    Seating president proposed why others sorounding him say no. All support this it will not bring divisions as others say. Me support it.

  33. Alungwana says:

    Beware with your words.

  34. Kennedy nali says:

    May God help us please.

  35. Kaya says:

    The game is now ON…………..muisovenge!

  36. Kaya says:

    Now the game is on………………muisovenge!

  37. Piper says:

    Who am I to disagree with Mr President ?

  38. Federal system is good.

  39. Muliyekha says:

    Mr ujeni Phiri ithink you have lost some senses on this issue.The North people gave us two options (1) Federation (2) Succession.So own my view these people are too Democratic and Peaceful somehow,Can’t we understand them well rather than shouting or sticking on succession.Let me tell you Succession is their second move/choice that if we fail to agree on Federation they may standalone as acountry.So as the way you are talking you seem you hate them thus it shows that you are the one who is Selfish.Kuyankhula motero sukungamange mudzi amwene.Tiyeni tigwirizane nawo anthuwa moveka bwino kuti Malawi akhalebe Malawi wantendere.Kodi sitinga gwirizane popanda wina kufapo izi.National issues sizifunika munthu wopanda nzeru kuthirapo mang’ombe chifukwa.Ife tonse kuno ku thyolo tikugwirizana nawo maganizo awo

    1. dadaboma says:

      Ndakunyadila mphwanga, uli ndi nzeru, I did’t know.

    2. Yobe boo says:

      Koma dziko likanakhala ndi anthu anzeru, oganiza mwaumunthu, ngati amwene awa, a Kaliyekha, tikanati titha kumanga Malawi. Osati Zitsiru zina zongokoledza chidani ndi mitundu ina ya anthu. Mulungu akudalitseni mwene..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. J. Chimbalanga says:

    federalism shall never divide the country.u people from south; dont look at it as a political tool the system has alot of economic benefits for all regions.

  41. mabvuto akula says:

    Federalism will it work in the regions which have many tribal groups? Northern region have: Nkhonde, Labia, Tumbuka, Ngoni and Tonga. Southern region has: Lomwe, Sena, Mang’anja, Yao with a paramount chief almost for ethnic group. Wont we see a desire for federalism within federalism? The central region appears to be predominantly chewa and ngoni in one district.

    Some years ago I went by bus to Karonga. Soon after crossing the Rukuru we primary school pupils were going home and the driver kept sounding the horn to warn them off the road. Someone a very nkhonde accent said, Vi wana va Phoka wikuva yayi. Numerous comments were made to that effect by people who were nkhondes.

    Unity within regions I believe is just superficial. May what we need is the South African type which recognises each ethnic group on their own otherwise not ethnic groups can comfortably coexist. Kaya ndangonenapo ine.

  42. Kalanga says:

    Ndiye wina azinena kuti atumbuka! Chibwana apa ayi! Professor wathu Nooophiya ananena kuti federalism ndiyabwino!

    So architect ndi Peter Mutharika! On the other hand, I thought PAC in this case is Public Affairs Committee and not Public Appointment Committee! Now someone is talking abt Thoko Banda! Kapena ndikumva molakwika!

  43. Patriot says:

    Koma ukasiya mulomo.

    Mbuzi zina zachilomwe zikuti Malawi ndi wang’ono sayenera kukhala ndi federalism.
    Tsopano ndi multiparty yu Malawi ndi wamkulu?

    Bullshit. Peter was and is right, FEDERALISM IS GOOD FOR THE PROGRESS OF THE NATION.

  44. Tiko says:

    A john pac ya ku parliament ndi pac ilutchulidwayi ndi zosiyana

  45. Weniweni Balakasa says:

    Viva APM that is the way to go. Shame to those who are against the 2006 idea of the lomwe president. Peter knows very well that federal govt is the best. Who are u lomwes to go against your father’s proposal?



  47. Zankutu says:

    Another clutching at straws excercise. To all those thinking devolution of power will weaken the powers of the presidency are doing just that; clutching at straws

  48. Khamu says:

    With Proportional representation Mr President, this will further divide our nation as no 1 – 100 on your list of DPP will be Mulhakho people. Your current cabinet and appointments have clearly shown this and how do we run away from that?

    Let Malawi be as it is but lets address the root causes of the problems in the parties themselves. This starts from the top. Can MCP accept a Yao as their presidential candidate? Can Aford accept a Chewa as their presidential aspirant? Can DPP accept a Tonga as it aspirant. We are not talking of Deputy Presidents who are used and abused to garner votes then dumped.

    Lets put our heads together and think, think, think.

  49. John says:

    PAC is useless, case in point, they hired the appointment of Assets Declaration boss even though he had a shady past? Rubber stamped the ACB boss. They approved/agreed to hire Thoko Banda even though he had no right papers, Infact they even sent him to zimbabwe without knowledge that he once insulted Mugabe. I can go on and on. As for APM’s new stance on federalism that contradicts his 2006 position, well, surprise surprise! Absolute power corrupts absolutely!!! PAC, Malawi Law Society, Malawi Electoral Commission are all as useless as used toilet papers. You can add on that list of all useless governing bodies that Malawi can do without.

    1. Zankutu says:

      Man this PAC is Public Affairs Committee; the religious political PAC; not the PAC of parly

    2. citizen says:

      Understand that Public Appointments Commitee(PAC), is not Public Affairs Commitee( PAC). they’re refering to the later.

      1. John says:

        Thanks “Zankutu and Citizen”, I stand to be corrected.

      2. original KK says:

        In fact there are three PACS
        1 Public Accounts Committee
        2 Public Affairs Committee
        3 Public Appointment Committee

        Zikomo a Malawi

  50. Ujeni Phiri says:


    1. khesha says:

      U should also go we are tired of brainless people u I think u are a witch by proffessional

    2. Yobe boo says:

      You are a BIG FOOL, a Witch, Galu, Chopanda Nzeru, Chokupha, Komaso Chonyasa. You do not deserve any line for your ink on this page. This is not a forum to hunt other Malawian tribes or ethinic goups, but to constructively share views.

      Anthu a mitima yoyipa ngati iwe ndiamene mumasokoneza atsogoleri athu kuti azidana ndi mitundu ya anthu ena. I personally hate the way you comment, and it hurts me to see people like you existing among peace loving people.

  51. wa ku nkhoma says:

    Basi tikwere yomweyo ya federalism ndiyabwino yamipando ya wofuwofu.

  52. ndangodutsa chisale says:

    Zimene adanena Bububu Mpandamano ife tidzagwirizana nazo. Tili pambuyo pa Peter Mutharika chipani ndi boma. Kkkkk

    1. abdulhassan says:

      Manyazi agwire azibusa a Calvary Family Church tsopano. Dyera….ndi izo mwamva zomwe amaganiza Peter , Lucious Banda. Azibusa tisakonde ndalama ndi maudindo koma chilungamo. Federalism izathandiza to hold our leaders to account.

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