Malawi Celebrate’s fifty six years

Today the Republic of Malawi celebrates 56 years of independence. It was colonised by Britain from around 1890 to 1963 then know as Nyasaland. From 1953 to 1963 Malawi was also part of the central African federation also know as the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The history is long and exciting but our focus is on independence.

Malawi flag

Why 6 July 1964 Malawi was declared as the day for independence? Six years earlier on 6 July 1958 is the day former President Hastings Kamuzu Banda returned back to Malawi to start the fight for independence. The following year in 1959 on 3 March under operation sunrise Kamuzu Banda was arrested and imprisoned in Gwelo (now Gweru in present day Zimbabwe).

At the fall of the federation in 1963 Malawi became a newly independent state. As black majority rule was achieved it was the first southern African nation to gain independence. It was renamed the Commonwealth of Malawi with Her majesty Queen Elizabeth as head and Kamuzu Banda as prime minister until 6 July 1966 it came a Republic and Kamuzu took over as executive president. The new nation had many challenges they was no University, central bank, airline, etc. Most government institutions had to be created from the Nyasaland branch since federal institutions where headquartered in Salisbury now Harare (Zimbabwe)

Central African federation map

The first Parliament building was in Zomba up until 1994 it was moved to new state house now kamuzu Palace, in 2009 the new parliament building was opened in Lilongwe city centre.

The first Parliament building in Zomba

Leadership: Malawi has had six sitting presidents from the longest sitting leadership for 31year to the shortest leadership which lasted only 2 years. Malawi is still a growing democracy since the inception of multi party politics in 1994 having changed leaders 5 times in 26 years.

Malawi’s presidents since 1964 (from left to right) Kamuzu Banda, Bakili Muluzi, Bingu WaMutharika, Joyce Banda, Peter Mutharika and the current President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera

Economy: Just like most African nations Malawi’s economic backbone is Agriculture empolying as much as 70% of the population. Malawi’s main forex earner is tobacco accounting for more than 50% of forex receipts followed by tea and sugar. Economic diversification has been slow without any meanful investments and research. In recent years tourism has been growing receiving almost a million visitors per year.

Tea estates in mulanje.

Education: Malawi government provides free primary and secondary education although not compulsory. In 1964 Malawi had no University as the university of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was located in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). An act of Parliament was passed for the construction of the University of Malawi which was officially open in 1967 in Zomba. Currently they are five public universities nationally and technical colleges in each district.

University of Malawi, Zomba

Media: Malawi has been progressive in media licensing and promotion of access to information according to the regulator Macra they are now 80 operational broadcasting houses in Malawi from 1 media in 1999. 80 broadcasting houses comprises of national, regional and community media houses. Malawi’s first television station tvm was launched on 1 April 1999.

Judiciary: Malawi has one of Africa’s most independent Judiciary. On the 3 February 2020 Malawi became the second African nation to have presidential elections nullified and ordered an rerun which was won by newly elected president Dr Lazarus Chakwera. The judicial is well know for defending the Constitution.

Malawi remains one of the world’s most peaceful nations, with Africa’s most friendly people. A truly warm heart of Africa. Happy independence day to the people of Malawi.

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