List of political parties in Malawi

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This article lists political parties in Malawi. Malawi has a multi-party system with over 40 registered political parties. The political process in Malawi is such that parties are voted into power. Parties participate in an electoral process. The parties with the most representation in the National Assembly are the People's Party (PP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), United Democratic Front (UDF), and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).


The rise of multi-party rule in Malawi

The Nyasaland African Congress led the anti-colonial movements in Malawi under the leadership of Kamuzu Banda. When the NAC was banned it changed its name to the Malawi Congress Party which led Malawi to independence and continued to rule from 1964 until 1994, under a one party state system. This system was challenged by political activists throughout the years, however Banda's dictatorship suppressed opposition, creating a culture of silence.

By 1992, Chakufwa Chihana, a trade unionist, lecturer and activist, became the catalyst for a multi-party system in Malawi. [1] He led an underground political movement that aimed at democratic multi-party rule. [2] He was the first person to openly challenge the system. [1] He was arrested in 1992 when he returned to Malawi and his arrest heightened both domestic and international pressure. [1] Chihana's freedom was supported by Amnesty International as well as the Robert F. Kennedy Association. [1] Due to growing pressure, Banda agreed to hold a referendum to let the public decide on the issue of multi-party rule. During the 1993 referendum, Malawians voted for a multi-party system and it became legal to form political parties in Malawi. Chihana's movement lead to the formation of his party, Alliance for Democracy (AFORD). Other prominent parties formed and emerged as well, notably the United Democratic Front which was founded by Bakili Muluzi. Malawi's first multi-party elections were held in 1994. The MCP contested in these elections as well. The UDF under the charismatic Bakili Muluzi won these elections becoming the first party that was democratically voted into power in Malawi. Chihana's party came third, and he was awarded the position of second Vice-President. [3] However, Chihana has made his mark on Malawi's history and is known as the "father of democracy" in Malawi. [4] [5] Malawi had peacefully ushered in multi-party rule which continues until today.

Active parties

Parties with representation in parliament

PartyAbbr.LeaderPolitical positionIdeology MPs
Malawi Congress Party MCP Lazarus Chakwera Centre-right Ubuntu
African nationalism
59 / 193
Democratic Progressive Party DPP Peter Mutharika Centre Anti-corruption
58 / 193
United Democratic Front UDF Atupele Muluzi Centre Liberalism
10 / 193
United Transformation Movement UTM Saulos Chilima Centre Liberalism
5 / 193
People's Party PP Joyce Banda Centre-right Conservatism
4 / 193
Alliance for Democracy AFORD Chakufwa Chihana Centre-left Social democracy
2 / 193

Other parties

Table of political parties

PartyAcronymYear FoundedFounderPresidentVice-presidentParty coloursSloganEmblemStatus
Alliance for Democracy AFORD1993 Chakufwa Chihana Dindi Gowa-Nyasulu Active
Congress for Democracy (Malawi) CODEYR Ralph Kasambara Ralph Kasambara Light blueActive
Democratic Progressive Party DPP2005 Bingu wa Mutharika Peter Mutharika Goodall Gondwe Light blueActive
Malawi Congress Party MCP1959 Kamuzu Banda Dr Lazarus Chakwera Black, red, greenKwachacockerelActive
Malawi Forum for Unity and Development MAFUNDE2004Active
Movement for Genuine Democratic Change A2004unknown
Malawi Democratic Party MDP2004 Kamlepo Kalua Kamlepo Kalua unknown
National Democratic Alliance NDCYR Brown Mpinganjira Dissolved
National Unity Party NUP2004Active
New Republican Party NRP2009 Gwanda Chakuamba Gwanda Chakuamba unknown
People's Party PP2011 Joyce Banda Joyce Banda OrangeUnity, Equality, Developmentlock and keyActive
Peoples Progressive Movement PPM2003 Mark Katsonga & Aleke Banda Mark Katsonga unknown
People's Transformation Party PETRAYR Kamuzu Chibambo Kamuzu Chibambo Active
Republican Party RP2004 Stanely Masauli & Gwanda Chakuamba Stanely Masauli unknown
Umodzi Party UP2013 Prof John Chisi Prof John Chisi Timothy Kamulete Royal BlueUmodzi wafika!Active
United Democratic Front UDF1992 Bakili Muluzi Austin Muluzi YellowActive

Party coalitions

Coalition NameAcronymCoalition PartiesYear(s)PresidentVice-PresidentParty ColorsSloganEmblemStatus
Mgwirizano Coalition MC MDP, MAFUNDE, MGDC, NUP, PPM, PETRA, RP 2004PVPPCSEDissolved
Grand CoalitionGCCODE, PP, PPM, PETRA, UDF 2011–presentPVPPCSEActive

Party by year

See also

Related Research Articles

The History of Malawi covers the area of present-day Malawi. The region was once part of the Maravi Empire. In colonial times, the territory was ruled by the British, under whose control it was known first as British Central Africa and later Nyasaland. It became part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The country achieved full independence, as Malawi, in 1964. After independence, Malawi was ruled as a one-party state under Hastings Banda until 1994.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Politics of Malawi</span> Political system of Malawi

Politics of Malawi takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Malawi is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. There is a cabinet of Malawi that is appointed by the President of Malawi. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The government of Malawi has been a multi-party democracy since 1994. The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Malawi a "hybrid regime" in 2022.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hastings Banda</span> Malawian government leader (c. 1898 – 1997)

Hastings Kamuzu Banda was the prime minister and later president of Malawi from 1964 to 1994.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bakili Muluzi</span> President of Malawi from 1994 to 2004

Elson Bakili Muluzi is a Malawian politician who was the first freely elected president of Malawi from 1994 to 2004. He was also chairman of the United Democratic Front (UDF) until 2009. He succeeded Hastings Kamuzu Banda as Malawi's president. He also served in Banda's cabinet as minister without portfolio, before retiring in 1980.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2004 Malawian general election</span>

General elections were held in Malawi on 20 May 2004 to elect a President and the National Assembly. The election had originally been scheduled for 18 May but was postponed for two days in response to opposition complaints of irregularities in the voter roll. By 22 May no results had been announced, leading to protests from the opposition and threats of disorder. On 25 May the Malawi Electoral Commission finally announced the results of the election. Bingu wa Mutharika, the candidate of the ruling United Democratic Front, was declared the winner of the presidential poll, whilst the Malawi Congress Party had won most seats in the National Assembly vote. Voter turnout was around 62%.

The United Democratic Front is a political party in Malawi founded in 1992 by Bakili Muluzi. It claims to be a liberal party in Malawi and is mainly strong in the southern region populated by ethnic Yao. Bakili Muluzi was President of Malawi from 1994 to 2004.

Brown James Mpinganjira, popularly known as BJ is a Malawian Politician who used his 1986 detention to fight the injustices of the then one party state. He worked with others in prison and used their time to devise ways on how to change the direction of Malawi's political state. Mpinganjira was detained in 1986 and was released in 1991 due to international pressure. He began working for British council upon his release and received support from international community to form a pressure group and lobby for a referendum to decide whether Malawi was still to remain a one party state or become a multi party democracy. In the 1993 referendum, history was made at the polls when Malawians voted for multi party democracy. In the first multi party elections, Mpinganjira contested as Member of Parliament in his home town Mulanje. He won the parliamentary seat in 1994 and served as an MP for Mulanje Central for 15years. In the 15 years that he was in parliament, Mpinganjira had a colourful political career and is one of the best political masterminds in Malawi. He has contested once as a presidential candidate for National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2004 and as a running mate in the Mgwirizano Coalition in 2009.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Democratic Progressive Party (Malawi)</span> Political party in Malawi

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is a political party in Malawi. The party was formed in February 2005 by Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika after a dispute with the United Democratic Front (UDF), which was led by his predecessor, Bakili Muluzi.

The Alliance for Democracy is a political party in Malawi that marked its history as laying the foundation for multi-party rule in Malawi. It began as an underground political movement during the Kamuzu Banda era and later evolved to a political party during the multi-party era under the leadership of trade union activist, Chakufwa Chihana. AFORD has a stronghold in the northern region. The president is Godfrey Shawa.

The People's Progressive Movement (PPM) is a political party in Malawi. At the elections of 20 May 2004, its candidate for president Aleke Banda won 2.5% and the party was part of the Mgwirizano Coalition, that won 27 out of 194 seats. Aleke Banda was the close friend of hastings Kamuzu Banda in 1956. He was among the people who founded the Nyasaland Congress Party. He was also saved as Ministry of Agriculture in the United Democratic Front (UDF) during Bakali Muluzi's time. He left UDF together with Mark Katsonga Phiri and formed their party after there was disagreement with Muluzi about the Presidency of Bingu wa Munthalika.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Tembo</span> Malawian politician (born 1932)

John Zenus Ungapake Tembo is a Malawian politician who served for years as President of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Tembo comes from the Dedza District in central Malawi, and he is a teacher by profession. Beginning in the 1960s he was an important politician in Malawi, and he was a key figure in the regime of Hastings Banda (1964–1994). He has been variously described as "physically slight, ascetic, fastidious" and "cunning". He was replaced as President of the MCP in August 2013.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gwanda Chakuamba</span>

Gwandaguluwe "Gwanda" Chakuamba Phiri was a Malawian politician who was the leader of the New Republican Party (NRP). He hailed from Nsanje, a district on the southern part of Malawi. Gwanda Chakuamba attended Zomba Catholic Secondary School, a 2 year metriculation at Sulosi College in Bulawayo Zimbabwe before proceeding to the US to study law though not much is known about whether he did a degree program or a short course.

Rodwell Thomas Changara Munyenyembe was a Malawian politician who served twice as Speaker of the National Assembly, from 1994 to 1999 and again from 2004 until his death. He also twice served as a cabinet minister, in the governments of Hastings Banda and Bakili Muluzi. He worked as a teacher prior to entering politics.

Cassim Chilumpha is a Malawian politician who was Vice-President of Malawi from June 2004 to May 2009. Later, under President Joyce Banda, he was appointed as Minister of Energy and Mining in April 2012.

Chakufwa Chihana was a Malawian human rights activist, pro-democracy advocate, trade unionist and later, politician. He held the post of Second Vice President in Malawi, under President Bakili Muluzi. He is often called the 'father of Malawian democracy'. He served as leader of Malawi's first underground political movement, which urged President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who had ruled for three decades, to call for a referendum on political pluralism. He was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 1992.

Justin Chimera Malewezi was a Malawian politician and a Member of Parliament for Ntchisi North in the Central Region of Malawi. He was Vice-President of Malawi from 1994 to 2004. Malewezi quit the United Democratic Front in 2004 and eventually represented the People's Progressive Movement in the 2004 general election, in which he garnered 2.5% of the total national vote.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2009 Malawian general election</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Goodall Gondwe</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">1994 Malawian general election</span> Election of Bakili Muluzi as President of Malawi

General elections were held in Malawi on 17 May 1994 to elect the President and National Assembly. They were the first multi-party elections in the country since prior to independence in 1964, and the first since the restoration of multi-party democracy the previous year. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which had governed the country since independence, was decisively beaten by the United Democratic Front (UDF). Former President-for-life Hastings Banda, in power since independence, was defeated in by the UDF's Bakili Muluzi, who took 47 percent of the vote to Banda's 33 percent.

Harry Thomson, also known as "Clean Harry", was a Malawian politician. He was born in Zomba, the capital of Nyasaland. He was a founding member of the United Democratic Front party (UDF) and a Minister of Trade and Industry.


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