Malawi 2006

Yearbook 2006

Malawi. A furious power struggle took up most of the political leaders’ time throughout the year. In 2005, the former ruling party United Democratic Front (UDF) had initiated a civil trial against the new president Bingu wa Mutharika. violated a number of Parliament’s rules. The process appeared mainly as a revenge for forming his own party and ordering corruption investigations against leading UDFs. While the judicial process was almost halted, the president went into counter-attacks against his enemies. During the year, Vice President Cassim Chilumpha was placed under house arrest following charges of attempted murder on Wa Mutharika and President Bakili Muluzi was temporarily arrested on corruption charges. The head of the anti-corruption authority, the Chancellor of Justice and the Prosecutor General were dismissed for deficiencies in the handling of the charges against the Vice President and the President. The president himself got worried after the Constitutional Court deprived him of almost all of his political support by deposing the 70 MPs elected for the UDF but switched over to his new party. As a result, the opposition was again free to try to get the president deposed. Political veteran Chakufwa Chihana died at age 67. He led the opposition for many years against Malawi’s authoritarian First President Hastings Kamuzu Banda. Although almost all of today’s political leadership has a background in opposition to Banda, the old dictator was honored with a stately new mausoleum, erected for the equivalent of over SEK 4 million.

According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Malawi include Independence Day (July 6) and New Year (January 1). The Malawian population, whose average life expectancy has dropped to 36 years due to the AIDS epidemic and half of them are starving, received a small distraction from a visit by the world artist Madonna. She left the country with a one-year-old orphanage that she wanted to adopt. It sparked a heated debate about how wealthy celebrities can get courts in poor countries to see between the fingers of the law in a way that virtually sanctions human trafficking.