Malawi historian D.D Phiri quash calls for federal govt

Malawi’s renowned writer and historian Desmond Dudwa Phiri, widely known as DD Phiri, has added his voice in quashing calls by some opposition parties on the issue of federal government.

At present, Malawi is a unitary state consisting of one parliament, one administration or civil service and one judiciary system.

Opposition political parties, among them Alliance for Democracy (Aford), had been calling for either rotational presidency or introduction of federation.

DD Phiri
DD Phiri

Enoch Chihana of Aford cited Germany, South Africa, Mozambique and USA as federal governments which Malawi can always emulate to its “advantage”.

But Phiri argues that where federal system exists their histories and sizes are very different from those of Malawi.

He says Malawi is “too small a country to be split as a federation of states”.

“Changing the status of a country from unitary to federal is as drastic as changing it from monarchy to republic.

“The problems which they cite, the lopsided cabinet of the second Democratic Progressive Party regime, does not warrant morphing Malawi from a unitary state to a federal one.

“It is advisable to not suggest schemes without calculating the cost and benefits. We now have one government which finds it difficult to raise money for its administration and development,” Phiri said.

He further said the multiplication of legislatures would mean spending more money on those “who merely talk” and less on those who do good work such as doctors, teachers, police and the defence force.

With a federal system, Malawi would have four governments; eastern region in Zomba, the southern region state in Blantyre, that of the central region in old Lilongwe and that of the northern region in Mzuzu.

“Distribution of resources will not be easier than it is now. It might be more difficult,” he added.

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