Malawi. According to
countryaah, President Bungu wa Mutharika's authoritarian rule
was increasingly questioned. One of the president's toughest
critics was the human rights activist and former Justice
Chancellor Ralph Kasambara, who in February accused the head
of state of being dictatorial and demanding he step down.
Kasambara's office was then subjected to an assassination
attempt which ended with Kasambara himself being arrested,
accused of assaulting his guards by the guards. He was
In March, riots in the capital Lilongwe erupted since the
tear gas police tried to stop a regime critic from speaking.
It was Atupele Muluzi, the son of the country's former
president and popularly popular. Kravaller erupted and
Muluzi's supporters set fire to a police station. After a
couple of days of rioting, Muluzi was arrested, charged with
In April, disputed President Bungu wa Mutharika died
suddenly in a heart attack. He was 78 at the time. Many
expected his brother, Foreign Minister Peter Mutharika, to
take over, but the constitution was followed and Vice
President Joyce Banda sworn in as new head of state.
Banda became Africa's second female president. She
expressed a hope of reconciliation as there were strong
contradictions between her and the former president since
she was excluded from the ruling party in 2010.
But when the deceased president was buried, Banda
dismissed his brother from the Foreign Office post, and
other supporters of the former president were allowed to
leave their posts. Instead, Atupele Muluzi was appointed
Minister of Economic Planning, and Ralph Kasambara was
appointed Minister of Justice.
Malawi is one of the world's poorest countries and three
quarters of the population is expected to live on less than
one dollar a day. After conflict with the previous
government, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had
included large aid packages. President Banda requested a new
relief program at the IMF when she took office and gave in
to the IMF's demand that the kwacha currency be devalued. It
was written down by over 33%.
The devaluation was seen as a realization of the economy,
but it also triggered concerns about rampant inflation and
was followed by hoarding and commodity shortages.
The new government's hope was met that Western countries
that had been in conflict with the former president would
resume their assistance. The budget deficit had grown since
the UK and US froze aid programs worth close to a billion
dollars. Britain now promised to help Malawi stabilize the
economy and improve health care. The IMF agreed to a $ 157
million three-year relief program.
In foreign policy, President Banda chose a different line
from her representative when, before the African Union's
planned summit in Malawi in July, she declared that Sudan's
war-accused President Omar al-Bashir was not welcome. This
led to conflict within the AU, and Malawi withdrew from the
host for the meeting.