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The Republic of Malawi is a land-locked country in southeast Africa. It suffered a devastating civil war during the late 80's and early 90’s, but the situation in Malawi is slowly but surely improving.
Malwi was the former British colony of Nyasaland. It gained independence in 1964 with Hastings Banda as president for life.
After Doomsday, Hastings Banda managed to keep order for about four years. However, Hasting’s popularity started to drop due to a cessation of trade, food shortages, and because he started growing increasingly paranoid and started violently cracking down on the restless public. This paranoia also caused Hastings to execute several of his own ministers. Banda cracked down on farmers and ordered his army to seize food stashes and farming equipment. This was criticized by the opposition as an excuse to allow the military to control more of the country. In June of 1987, a group of disgruntled citizens held a protest when Hastings Banda gave a speech. The protest turned violent and Hastings Banda was killed in the crossfire. Due to the fact Hastings had most of his top ministers executed, Hastings had no strong successor. Thus, Malawi was left with a weak government and a civil war ignited in late July.
Malawian Civil War
Despite the effort, Hastings Banda put into stamping out potential dissidents, an underground resistance called the Alliance for Democracy had formed. This new movement was largely concentrated in the rural northern part of the country. Another movement called the Malawi Young Pioneers fought largely in urban centers in the south and around the capital of Lilongwe. A much more sporadic movement was created in North Kivu by exiled political dissidents. Government forces across rural communities and at wheat and grain collection centers fought to maintain the corrupt government. The remaining loyal soldiers were outnumbered, and although far better equipped than rebels, eventually cave in. Brief street fighting occurred between the Young Pioneers and the government forces in the capital before the rebels won. The Alliance for Democracy had gained a stronghold in the north, effectively defeating any remaining government forces left inside of Malawi. In the first major engagement of the war, the Young Pioneers were routed at Kasungu on August 3. Areas not yet under the control of the Young Pioneers became battlegrounds as the Alliance for Democracy began recruiting rebels to fight a guerilla war against the Young Pioneers.
The M23 crossed the border on March 10, 1988, opening a second front for the Alliance of the Democracy to fight in. The M23 failed to create a lasting foothold and were driven back across the border. With the M23 out of the picture, the Alliance for Democracy focused its attention on the Young Pioneers. Both sides could not gain a significant advantage and thus turned toward attritional warfare and atrocities against civilians. This tit for tat attitude resulted in further bloodshed. By 1992, all of southern Malawi fell to the Alliance for Democracy, and their morale was emboldened. For a further 2 years, the Young Pioneers continued to defend its stronghold in the center before finally Lilongwe was captured.
It had taken about 7 years before the alliance had completely seized control of the country and, a lawyer named Bazuka Mhango had been elected as the first president of a new multiparty government. The M23 made a small incursion once again on Malawi before finally being defeated and disbanded.
The Mhango Administration
In the aftermath of the civil war, Malawi was in shambles. Most of the nation’s infrastructure was destroyed, the economy was in ruins, and the body count was high. Thus, President Mhango had his work cut out for him. President Mhango managed to gain re-election because he managed to increase agriculture output, repair a small amount of infrastructure, improve Malawi’s floundering education system, and keep order without being overly brutal. In Mhango’s second term radio service was restored to Malawi.
Mhango was succeeded by Dr. Kenneth Thindwa. His presidency was marked by government incentives and subsidies for small businesses. These actions lead to a small boom in cottage industries like furniture making and tailoring. Despite the modest upturn in the economy Dr. Kenneth Thindwa barely loss the election of 2009 to his former foreign minister Joyce Mtila.
The Mtila Era
Malawi is still a poor land, but things are getting better. Under President Mtila women’s rights have improved. Also ties with Zambia, Mozambique, and North Zimbabwe have been strengthened. There has also been some more progress made in educational reform.
Major parties include the Alliance for Democracy, the People’s Party, and the Mgwirizano Coalition. Malawi is also the center of a movement to form a Bantu federation called the Mutapa Coalition. This movement’s political arm is the Coalition Party. The Coalition Party has three seats in National Assembly.
Malawi has a small military of approximately 3,000. In an emergency, it can summon up to 5,000 in reserves. Rifles and equipment are few and far between in the army.
Malawi is a poor country heavily dependent on agriculture. Tobacco, tea, and Tilapia are its main exports. Fishing on Lake Malawi has proven to be a lucertive industry. Malawi has developed a system of workshops, which produce products like hand craved furniture and hand woven clothing. These workshops mainly produce products for the domestic market, but a tiny portion of Malawian workshops products are exported to Zambia and Mozambique
Malawi has very close relations with Zambia and North Zimbabwe. Malawi also has embassies with New Britain, Mozambique,South Zimbabwe,Katanga ,the Republic of Angola,s and several of the Tanzanian breakaway states.