Malawi’s political settlement in crisis, 2011
Today The Guardian featured “Malawi risks becoming ‘fragile’ state,” an article written by Dr. Diana Cammack, a Research Associate for the Overseas Development Institute. She doesn’t step softly in her attribution of the fragility of Malawi to President Bingu wa Mutharika:
One factor in the deadlock is the president’s intemperate behaviour. Periodically, he makes fiery speeches in which he threatens “war” against activists, or calls on his DPP youth cadets to “discipline” his opponents. His deportation of the British high commissioner – for writing that Mutharika is “arrogant and intolerant of criticism” in a memo to the Foreign Office that was leaked – and his dressing-down of other ambassadors have antagonised western donors who were already withdrawing funds in response to governance and rights abuses and fiscal maladministration.
While nothing she says is untrue, it’s quite brave of an academic who studies Malawi to make such a statement. Sometimes I worry the posts I write for haba na haba could be construed as critical of the government and might impede my ability to travel to and do research in Malawi.
The Guardian article is actually an abbreviated version of her longer paper, “Malawi’s political settlement in crisis, 2011,” posted earlier this month as a Background Paper of the Africa power and politics program. In the longer paper, she goes into great detail about the events leading up to the July 20th protests in Malawi this year that led to 22 deaths. I think it gives a solid overview. It certainly does more than just glean things from Twitter.