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 businesses.
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.
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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 population.
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 beaten.
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 his execution.
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 Malawi.
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 Malawi.
The Malawi Congress party was the only one to take part in the subsequent elections in June. It got all 114 seats in parliament.
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.