The defense includes 5,000 men enlisted and is organized
into three battalions, three patrol boats and a few unarmed
aircraft. Semi-military security forces amount to 1,500 men.
The material is of varying origin.
Defense of Malawi costs increased from 1.0% to 1.2% of GDP in
1985-96 and stood at 1.1% of GDP in 2007. Malawi
participates in UN peacekeeping operations in Congo
(Kinshasa) (MONUC) and Sudan (UNMIS, UNAMID). To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that MWI stands for Malawi.
Banda received support from South Africa and Israel for
the establishment of a secret police - called the Special
Branch. Furthermore, the vital president personally
controlled the country's economy, owning 33% of its
Between 1987 and 88, the country received 600,000
refugees from Mozambique, in whose civil war Malawi
supported the counter-revolutionary RENAMO. This support
ceased only when Mozambique's President Chissano visited
Banda in 1988.
That same year, Amnesty International condemned the
politically condemned imprisonment of prominent academics
and writers - among them Jack Mapanje, the country's
best-known poet. In November 1989, the United States
announced that it had abandoned $ 40 million. US $ of
Malawi's foreign debt.
Implementation of the IMF Structural Adjustment Program
led to a reduction in inflation, improved balance of
payments and increased investment, but at the same time
aggravated the situation of the poorest sectors of the
In 1990 and 91, natural disasters - earthquakes and
floods - exacerbated the shortage of food in the rural
population, which accounts for 90% of the country's
population. The privatization of the corn market was only
beneficial to a small handful of producers.
In September 1991, US Vice President Dan Quayle
reaffirmed his government's total support for the Banda
regime, while worsening the human rights situation.
For the first time since the country's independence, the
Catholic Church in a February shepherd letter criticized the
92 human rights situation in the country and demanded
greater political freedom. Blantyre subsequently turned into
a scene of popular uprising, which was, however, severely
Opposition leader Chafuka Chihana of the Alliance for
Democracy was arrested in April 92 when he tried to return
home. A subsequent intense international campaign prevented
During the Cold War, Banda was a secure ally for the
West, but faced with his government's massive human rights
violations, several countries chose to suspend aid to
In May, a general strike was triggered by the textile
workers. It was met by brutal repression that cost 38
workers lives and over a hundred injured. As a consequence,
the World Bank frozen part of its financial assistance to
The Malawi Congress party was the only one to take part
in the subsequent elections in June. It got all 114 seats in
At the end of 92, news of the opposition politician and
chairman of the opposition party MAFREMO, Orton Chirwa's
death, ran through the country. He had been in jail since 83
and had died under torture. To curb the popular discontent,
Banda announced the conduct of a multi-party referendum.
In June 93, the Public Affairs Committee forced Banda to
conduct the vote the same month. About two-thirds of the
votes cast were for change. Banda released the same month
Vera Chirwa - wife of the murdered politician and Africa's
longest-serving political prisoner. Banda refused to resign,
but promised to conduct presidential elections in 94.
On May 17, 1994, 4 million Malawian citizens went to the
polls to elect a new president and 177 members to
Parliament. - the first multi-party elections since
independence in 64. The presidential election was won by
opposition candidate Bakili Mukizi. His party, the United
Democratic Front, achieved 84 out of the 177 seats. In
September, Banda, whose party had obtained only 55 seats,
withdrew from political life.
Throughout the year, Malawi suffered from the
consequences of a severe drought that led to food shortages.
Under this increasingly difficult social situation, the
government decided to continue reducing government spending.
A step praised by the IMF. In January 95, ex-President Banda
was arrested, charged with the murder of 3 ex-ministers.