Whats the best way forward for the northern region? Nyika republic or a federal Malawi to address the economic imbalance that the north has experienced for the past five decades of independence. 

Map of Malawi

Lets try to figure out the difference between a federal republic and a standalone state. Will try to keep it balanced and you will be the judge

Federalism’s Advantages

Proponents argue that federalism does the following:

  • Fosters state loyalties:Many citizens feel close ties to their home state, and federalism maintains that connection by giving power to the states.
  • Practices pragmatism: Running a country with such a diverse population, is much easier to do if power is given to local officials. Likewise, state and local officials are closer to the problems of their areas, so it makes sense for them to choose policies to solve those problems.
  • Creates laboratories of democracy: State governments can experiment with policies, and other states (and the federal government) can learn from their successes and failures
  • Leads to political stability: By removing the national government from some contentious issue areas, federalism allowed  the federal government to achieve and maintain stability.
  • Encourages pluralism: Federal systems expand government on national, state, and local levels, giving people more access to leaders and opportunities to get involved in their government.
  • Ensures the separation of powers and prevents tyranny: Even if one person or group took control of all three branches of the federal government, federalism ensures that state governments would still function independently. Federalism, therefore, fulfills the framers’ vision of a governmental structure that ensures liberty.

Federalism’s Disadvantages

Critics argue that federalism falls short in two ways:

  • Prevents the creation of a national policy: for example the United states does not have a single policy on issues; instead, it has fifty-one policies, which often leads to confusion.
  • Leads to a lack of accountability: The overlap of the boundaries among national and state governments makes it tricky to assign blame for failed policies.

Nyika Republic

Proposed Nyika Republic.

Formation of a new standalone nation may bring many benefits and


  • Which currency to use: some may want to keep using the kwacha but officials in Lilongwe may not be keen on the ideal, meaning Nyika Republic could scramble to find a currency which could lead to economic turmoil.
  • Businesses may leave Nyika Republic: should Nyika become its own nation, it may quickly find itself trying to develop its own currency, political recognition, direct foreign aid & Sadc/comesa memberships which can be a recipe for economic instability. Businesses may move away from Nyika long before the fledgling nation can stabilise.
  • Other separatist movements would gain momentum:  the renamo push to split Mozambique into 2 can pile more pressure on Maputo.
  • Greediness by leaders: should the formation of Nyika Republic be motivated by greed the new nation can easily be turned into a conflict zone.


  • Nyika Republic would completely control its political destiny: northern politicians have long claimed that their territory have be neglected by government since independence it still remains underdeveloped. 
  • Nyika Republic would be able to utilise its mineral reserves:  there is alot of mineral wealth in the northern region were it Nyika Republic to become independent. Politicians argue that Nyika woul use its mineral wealth to build its economic independence.

NB: an economy based largely on minerals would be too subject to price fluctuations.

  • Nyika Republic can be the new investors destiny: as a new state that is in dire need to uplift its standard and in dire need of capital. The new government will surely successful implement investor friendly policies.
  • Small and manageable: the new republic will be small in size and easy to manage with good and strong governance development will reach all corners of the nation.

    Disputes likely to occur:

    •  boundary demarcation: the split will argue on where really is the current boundary between the central and northern region.
    • Debt sharing: Malawi will not allow Nyika Republic to start as a debt free nation of which most Nyika Republic leaders will likely reject to inherit debts used for developing the central and Southern regions but can only accept to inherit those used to develop the northern region.
    • Citizenship: dual citizenship seems to be the best option but one nation will likely refuse as a measure control migration.


        You may read the link below on splitting Somalia then you will see why it remains an impossible assignment to have Nyika Republic.



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