Malawians Rise Up Against President, Damanding For Stability in The Economy

Adanna Uwazurike July 28, 2011

During the week of July 20th, riots erupted in the capital city of Malawi, Mzuzu, as people have become increasingly dissatisfied with the government. At least one person died as protesters burned barricades and looted property in the capital. The demonstrations were called due to rising fuel prices, a shortage of foreign exchange reserves, alleged bad governance and poor international relations.

Malawians Rise Up Against President, Damanding For Stability in The EconomyLast week, the United Kingdom cut direct aid to Malawi after a diplomatic spat with President Mutharika's government. The UK accused Malawi of mishandling the economy and failing to uphold human rights.

In order to deal with this huge cut in finances, the government recently passed an austerity budget, raising taxes to reduce dependence on aid. Many in the nation are now calling for the president’s resignation.

Recently, many grass-root uprisings have occurred throughout Africa and the Middle East and now Malawi will be added to that list. Because Malawi has been a generally peaceful country, many are worried that the euption of deadly riots may further weaken the goverment and cause its collapse.  Analysts say that the Malawian government should take these uprisings seriously and work to create a resolution with the people.

Amidst the unrest, a United States government agency has suspended a 350 million dollar grant, stating that the money was to be spent on Malawi’s developing power sector. They said that they were “deeply upset” by the deaths of 19 people during the demonstrations. The President of Malawi, Mutharika, has spoken out blaming civil society leaders for the riots.

He stated, “They are telling vendors to loot businesses. Is this going to bring fuel in the country? Will looting solve the problem of poor foreign exchange rates? I ask the civil society and opposition leaders to come to the round table for discussions. Violence will only destroy the gains that we have managed to realize over the years.”

Mutharika also told Malawians that it was not the fault of the government that food and fuel prices are rising, and that beneficial foreign exchange rates are difficult to obtain. He also blamed the British government’s aid policies and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, for failure in the stability of Malawi’s economy since independence in 1964.

it is unlikely, however, that President Mutharika’s rhetoric will change the sentiments of the people. If a government has proven to be corrupt, as shown through the President’s tax-sponsored private jet, hefty salary for him and his wife, and his habit of ignoring the opinion of cabinet members, then it needs to be changed or unrest will continue indefinitely.

 As more and more citizens under oppressive governments see the toppling of dictators by people in similar situations they are able to see how much power they have when they unite and stand up for their rights. Malawians, like Egyptians, have decided to take matters in heir own hands and head to the streets to protest. Hopefully, a successful resolution can be reached between the people and the government before the protests and riots intensify.


Photo credit:

Last Edited by: Updated: June 19, 2018


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates