Though shall not denounce Mutharika: Afrobarometer survey raises alarms for freedom of speech in Malawi

There is freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constititution but there is no freedom after speech as   Malawians fear to publicly condemn  the President and  security forces .This is one finding from a survey showing Malawi are increasingly dissatisfied with the state of the country’s democracy; the majority say they cannot criticise the Head of State.

Chunga: Reseacher

The survey, run by Afrobarometer, is based on data collected from 1200 adult Malawians  dated  November 29 2017. Led by Center for Social Research, the Afrobarometer survey was conducted between December 2016 and January 2017.

It  says  a majority of Malawians (53 percent) say they have to be careful what they say about politics.

“Yet a majority say that in the years preceding the survey, Malawians were gaining greater freedom to function in political and civil society organisations,” reads part of the survey’s report titled  ‘Malawians Increasingly Cuatious about Exercising  right to Free Political Speech.’

It says that while 77 percent of Malawins  feel “somewhat free” to say what they think, the proportion of those who feel “completely free” has dropped by 29 percentage since 2014 to 48 percent.

The survey was led  by lecturer at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, Joseph Chunga, who is also a researcher for the university’s Centre for Social Research (CSR).

He  conducted the survey with  Thomas Isbell, who they are both doctorate students at the University of Cape Town   in South Africa.

Malawians were asked:  In your opinion, how often, in this country, do people have to be careful of what they say about politics?

The survey reports that Malawians don’t feel free to be critical of the government or its agents. More than two-thirds of Malawians reported not feeling free to criticize Mutharika and more than half said they didn’t feel free to criticize their member of parliament.

But government spokesman Nicholous Dausi dismissed the survey as “ wrong” and “erroneous”

“I don’t think the survey reflects the actual situation. President Professor Peter Mutharika  has experienced criticism, ridicule and name calling and Malawians are freely to say anything.

Speaking out against the government can be costly in Malawi. Journalists and leaders in opposition parties have reported harassment and threats from ruling party supporters.

The sample has a confidence level of 95% and a 3% error margin, according to the researchers.

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What a useless survey. Researchers in an attempt to be seen being relevant to their paymasters. It’s like an enumerator doing a survey and interviewing people while he is alone under a tree. Very unprofessional indeed.

Keen Observer
Izi zokha ndiye zabodza zeni zeni. And ma survey awa sometimes not truthful. I remember Trump was not given a chance by surveys but now is the President. In South Africa all the leading surveys were saying that Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will win the presidential election for the ANC but Ramaphosa won, so sometimes I don’t trust these guys. There is another Dr Sibra ndani who is in the UK & he was saying according to what he knows as a Dr in Political sciencescience, there was zero chance for Mnangagwa to become the President of Zimbabwe after he was… Read more »

I used to believe Afrobarometer but with these types of reports/researches I think Afrobarometer is becoming nuisance and rubbish, not worth my trust anymore. This report angakhulupirire ndi amisala okha. Zikufanana ndi zimene ndidamvapo m’mbuyomu. Akuti munthu anagona pa njanji kukubwera train mpaka inamuponda nde anaduka ma piece awiri. Atabwera achipatala anachita kafukufuku kuti awone chamupha chiyani kikikikiki. Lipoti la Afrobarometer li ndi la nkutu


Surveys are scientific findings and are not suppose to interview million idiots. A thousand is enough for analysis. Kodi xool munasiyira Form 2?

Observer Weniweni
This is a completely useless survey and full of lies. Can anyone today say there is no freedom of speech in this country? The way the opposition led by Chakwera castigates the President!!! How about Kasakula and his team at Blantyre Print Newspapers!!! Has anybody forgotten how other private radio stations led by Zodiak dress-down Mutharika and his DPP??? Can anybody, therefore, take this Afrobarometer survey seriously?? Unfortunately Afrobarometer has been infiltrated by individuals who have their own agenda. It is losing its credibility fast and very fast. What good about DPP and this government do we expect to come… Read more »

i really question the integrity of this research and its findings. sample too small. conclusion a bit vague and so on. in fact by publishing such a face research it shows you have a great deal of freedom yourself without fear of being accountable for your lies. but anyway, one of those things.

What type of research is this? Find a better term for this doctored findings. Is 1200 respondents a representative sample? 1200 is actually 0.007% of a population of 17 million? Can any sane researcher call that a representative sample? Can anybody who has been to a research school extrapolate anything from such a sample? If I were a supervisor of this kind of research, I would have marked it 0 out of 100 for the following reasons: 1. Unreasonably small sample. 2. Failure to indicate districts where research was conducted. 3. For carrying out a research in just part of… Read more »
Jim Mangulenje

Is it not true though that very few Malawians can attach their names to government critique? Don’t most Malawians conveniently hide behind pseudo names or zigoba when censuring guffment?

Fake Petros
A bwana do not try to be very clever here! Kodi adult population ku Malawi ndi 17 million? Which representativeness or statistical inference are you referring to then? Bwinobwinotu? The population of Malawi is largely comprised of the youth (less than 35years), courtesy of UDF cum-DPP policies, a Malawi especially akumwera akuswana ngati mbewa/ ngumbi. In fact parties with leaders from the South are benefiting from such a development and they are stopping at nothing to keep the status quo, no wonder amadana ndi 50+1 system. Ati aziwina ma elections kuti aziba bwino ndalama za boma, koma dziko kumapitilira kukhala… Read more »

Afrobarometer surveys are becoming mendacious and uselss. There is more freedom of speech in Malawi than many African countries. Mwasowa zofufuza eti.

Mario pei

There is freedom of speech ,but no freedom after the speech.Please read and understand mukuwonetsa umbuzi wanu mayi

Pathological liar

We are a docile & fearful nation. Very afraid of the very same people we have given the mandate. Very unfortunate

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