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Malawi

Monthly Updates

December 2022

On 6 December, the Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Martha Chizuma, was arrested by police in relation to an audio recording that was leaked in January 2022. The recording allegedly contains a conversation in which Chizuma discusses the efforts of certain churches, judges, lawyers, and government officials to impede her investigation of corruption cases. The President of Malawi has stated that he was not aware of the arrest and Chizuma was released on the same day. This arrest follows closely on the heels of the ACB's arrest of Vice President Saulos Chilima a few days prior, who is facing allegations of receiving bribes from a British businessman in exchange for government contracts. Thus, for many, this arrest is seen as a continuation of the ongoing tensions between President Chakwera and Vice President Chilima and their respective political parties.

November 2022

On 25 November, Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested the country’s Vice-President, Saulos Chilima, charging him with taking $280,000 (USD) in bribes from British businessman, Zuneth Sattar, who is jointly being investigated for corruption by the ACB and the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency. Chilima was stripped of his powers by President Lazarus Chakwera in June 2022 after Chilima was first implicated in the Sattar corruption scandal. The charges come at a time when a majority of Malawians perceive corruption to be getting worse and analysts have indicated that they are likely to be broadly supportive of legal proceedings against the Vice-President. However, some commentators have suggested that the prosecution may be politically motivated, and therefore signals not an improvement in Malawi’s fight against corruption but rather tensions between Chakwera and Chilima and their respective political parties, which are part of the ruling coalition, the Tonse Alliance. Chilima is not the only senior official being prosecuted for corruption, with a former cabinet minister and several high-ranking civil servants reported to be amongst the ACB’s recent indictees.

August 2022

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi, an advocacy group, raised concerns over the state closure of three television stations and six radio stations since June 2022 and the anticipated revocation of broadcasting licences for a total of 29 outlets by the end of 2022. Approximately 500 job losses are expected to result. The action is being taken by the media regulation body, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), due to the late payment of licence fees. The apparent exemption afforded to the state broadcaster, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Forum, which is reported to owe outstanding licence fees, has led the Forum for National Development, a civil society organization, to accuse MACRA of selectively applying the law in a bid to silence media critical of the government - a charge the authority denies. According to MISA Malawi, the closures are unprecedented.

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GSoD Indices Data 2012-2021

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Basic Information

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Population Tooltip
19 647 680
System of government
Presidential system
Head of government
President Lazarus Chakwera (since 2020)
Head of government party
Malawi Congress Party
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
First Past the Post
Women in lower or single chamber Tooltip
22.9%
Women in upper chamber Tooltip
Not applicable
Last legislative election
2019
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
8.27
Head of state
President Lazarus Chakwera
Selection process for head of state
Direct election (plurality)
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
03/11/2020
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
82.76%
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Human Rights Treaties

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State Party State party
Signatory Signatory
No Action No action
United Nations Human Right Treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
State Party
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
State Party
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
State Party
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
State Party
Convention on the Rights of the Child
State Party
International Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
No Action
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
State Party
International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
State Party
International Labour Organisation Treaties
Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
State Party
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
State Party
Equal Remuneration Convention
State Party
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention
State Party
Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
State Party
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
State Party
Regional Treaties
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
State Party
in
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Early Warning System BETA

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Moderate risk of democratic breakdown Moderate risk of democratic breakdown (BETA)
Low risk of democratic backsliding Low risk of democratic backsliding (BETA)

Attributes Over Time

Representative government neutral Representative Government
Jul 2022
Aug
Sep
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Nov
Dec 2022
Representative government neutral Fundamental rights
Jul 2022
Aug
Sep
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Dec 2022
Representative government neutral Checks on government
Jul 2022
Aug
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Dec 2022
Representative government neutral Impartial administration
Jul 2022
Aug
Sep
Oct
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Dec 2022
Representative government neutral Participatory engagement
Jul 2022
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec 2022

GSoD Indices

Regime type
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