Malawi Congress Party

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Malawi Congress Party
President Lazarus Chakwera
Secretary-General Eisenhower Mkaka
Treasurer General Albert Mbawala
Publicity SecretaryEzekiel Peter Ching'oma
Founder Orton Chirwa
Aleke Banda
Founded30 September 1959
Preceded by Nyasaland African Congress
Youth wing Malawi Young Pioneers (disbanded)
Ideology Ubuntu philosophy
Conservatism [1]
African nationalism [2]
Political position
Regional affiliation Democrat Union of Africa
International affiliation Centrist Democrat International
Colors Black, Red and Green
National Assembly
55 / 193
0 / 5
Pan-African Parliament
0 / 5
Election symbol
Party flag
Flag of the Malawi Congress Party.svg

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is a political party in Malawi. It was formed as a successor party to the banned Nyasaland African Congress when the country, then known as Nyasaland, was under British rule. The MCP, under Hastings Banda, presided over Malawian independence in 1964, and from 1966 to 1993 was the only legal party in the country. It has continued to be a major force in the country since losing power.


Following a court order to have a rerun of the 2019 Presidential election, a fresh Presidential election was held on 23 June 2020 which resulted in the MCP and its Tonse Alliance partners receiving approximately 60% of the national vote ushering the party back into government.


The Malawi Congress Party was the successor to the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) party, which was banned in 1959. The MCP was founded in 1959 by Orton Chirwa, Nyasaland's first African barrister, soon after his release from Gwelo Prison, and other NAC leaders including Aleke Banda and S. Kamwendo, in agreement with Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who remained in prison. The purpose for dashing the original NAC to form the MCP was the need for free operation since NAC was a banned party by that time.

Orton Chirwa became the first MCP president and later was succeeded by Hastings Banda after he was released from Gwelo Prison. Banda continued to hold the Presidency until his death in 1997.

In the 1961 Nyasaland elections, the MCP won all the seats in the legislature and later led Nyasaland to independence as Malawi in 1964. When Malawi became a republic in 1966, the MCP was formally declared to be the only legal party. For the next 27 years, the government and the MCP were effectively one. All adult citizens were required to be party members. They had to carry "party cards" in their wallets at all times.

The MCP lost its monopoly on power in a 1993 referendum and was roundly defeated in the country's first free elections the next year. It remains a major force in Malawian politics. It is strongest in the central region, populated by ethnic Chewa and Nyanja people.


The current MCP set up has seen the sprung up of affiliate groups that are all working to strengthen the party. Among them are Kokoliko , Mighty Tambala Graduates, Born Free and Malawi Congress Party Diaspora Network (MCPDN) . The MCP Diaspora Network has seen all MCP members and supporters living outside Malawi working together in support of the mother party back home. [3] It has Regional Wings in countries like UK, RSA, USA, Republic of Ireland, Canada, and the Gulf Region. The MCPDN current leader is UK based Chalo Mvula [4]


MCP members

Electoral history

Presidential elections

ElectionParty candidateVotes%Result
1994 Hastings Banda 996,35333.44%LostRed x.svg
1999 Gwanda Chakuamba 2,106,79045.21%LostRed x.svg
2004 John Tembo 937,96528.22%LostRed x.svg
2009 1,365,67230.49%LostRed x.svg
2014 Lazarus Chakwera 1,455,88027.8%LostRed x.svg
2019 1,781,74035.41%LostRed x.svg
2020 2,604,04359.34%ElectedGreen check.svg

National Assembly elections

ElectionParty leaderVotes%Seats+/–Position
1961 Orton Chirwa Lower roll71,65998.8%
22 / 28
Increase2.svg 22Increase2.svg 1st
Higher roll38510.3%
1964 Hastings Banda General roll
50 / 53
Increase2.svg 28Steady2.svg 1st
Special roll
60 / 60
Increase2.svg 10Steady2.svg 1st
70 / 70
Increase2.svg 10Steady2.svg 1st
1978 100%
87 / 87
Increase2.svg 17Steady2.svg 1st
1983 100%
101 / 101
Increase2.svg 14Steady2.svg 1st
1987 100%
112 / 112
Increase2.svg 11Steady2.svg 1st
1992 100%
141 / 141
Increase2.svg 29Steady2.svg 1st
1994 996,04733.68%
56 / 177
Decrease2.svg 85Decrease2.svg 2nd
1999 Gwanda Chakuamba 1,518,54833.81%
66 / 193
Increase2.svg 10Steady2.svg 2nd
2004 John Tembo 785,67124.85%
57 / 193
Decrease2.svg 9Steady2.svg 2nd
2009 562,85912.94%
26 / 193
Decrease2.svg 31Steady2.svg 2nd
2014 Lazarus Chakwera 895,65917.37%
48 / 193
Increase2.svg 22Steady2.svg 2nd
2019 1,108,73522.32%
55 / 193
Increase2.svg 7Steady2.svg 2nd

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 becomes 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hastings Banda</span> First president of Malawi

Hastings Kamuzu Banda was the leader of Malawi from 1964 to 1994. He served as Prime Minister from independence in 1964 to 1966, when Malawi was a Dominion / Commonwealth realm). In 1966, the country became a republic and he became the first president as a result, ruling until his defeat in 1994.

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 (1932–2023)

John Zenus Ungapake Tembo was 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 was 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> Malawian politician

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.

The Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) was an organisation that evolved into a political party in Nyasaland during the colonial period. The NAC was suppressed in 1959, but was succeeded in 1960 by the Malawi Congress Party, which went to on decisively win the first universal suffrage elections in 1961, and to lead the country to independence as Malawi in 1964.

Henry Masauko Blasius Chipembere was a Malawian nationalist politician who played a significant role in bringing independence from colonial rule to his native country, formerly known as Nyasaland. From an early age Chipembere was a strong believer in natural justice and, on his return in 1954 from university in South Africa, he joined his country's independence struggle as a nationalist strategist and spokesman. In 1957, considering that the independence movement needed a strong leader similar to Kwame Nkrumah, and considering himself too young for this task, he joined with other young nationalists in inviting Hastings Kamuzu Banda to return to Nyasaland as the movement's leader.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Justin Malewezi</span> Malawian politician (1943–2021)

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">Cecilia Kadzamira</span>

Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira, GCVO was the official hostess of Malawi during the reign of president Hastings Banda. Whilst she and Banda were not officially married, she served as the first lady or official hostess for several years. For several years, she was the most powerful woman in Malawi. Kadzamira is referred to as "Mama" or "Mother of the Nation".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Orton Chirwa</span> Malawian politician (1919–1992)

Orton Chirwa was a lawyer and political leader in colonial Nyasaland and after independence became Malawi's Minister of Justice and Attorney General. After a dispute with Malawi's autocratic President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, he and his wife Vera were exiled. After being kidnapped abroad they were tried in Malawi on charges of treason and sentenced to death. Amnesty International named the couple prisoners of conscience. After spending nearly eleven years on death row in Malawi, Orton Chirwa died in prison on 20 October 1992.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vera Chirwa</span> Malawian born lawyer and human and civil rights activist

Vera Mlangazua Chirwa is a Malawian born lawyer and human and civil rights activist. She was Malawi's first female lawyer and a founding member of the Malawi Congress Party and the Nyasaland African Women's League. She fought for multiparty democratic rule in Malawi and was charged with treason, tried and sentenced to death by President Kamuzu Banda. She spent 12 years on death row. She was married to lawyer Orton Chirwa, Malawian Minister of Justice and Attorney General, who later died in prison.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nancy Tembo</span> Malawian politician

Nancy Gladys Tembo is a Malawian politician and serves as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Malawi Government since 2022. She is also a Member of Parliament (MP) representing Lilongwe City South West constituency in the National Assembly of the Republic of Malawi.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1964 Malawi cabinet crisis</span>

The cabinet crisis of 1964 in Malawi occurred in August and September 1964 shortly after independence when, after an unresolved confrontation between the Prime Minister, Hastings Banda and the cabinet ministers present on 26 August 1964, three ministers and a parliamentary secretary were dismissed on 7 September. These dismissals were followed by the resignations of three more cabinet ministers and another parliamentary secretary, in sympathy with those dismissed. Initially, this only left the President and one other minister in post, although one of those who had resigned rescinded his resignation within a few hours. The reasons that the ex-ministers put forward for the confrontation and subsequent resignations were the autocratic attitude of Banda, who failed to consult other ministers and kept power in his own hands, his insistence on maintaining diplomatic relations with South Africa and Portugal and a number of domestic austerity measures. It is unclear whether the former ministers intended to remove Banda entirely, to reduce his role to that of a non-executive figurehead or simply to force him to recognise collective cabinet responsibility. Banda seized the initiative, firstly, by dismissing some of the dissidents rather than negotiating, and secondly, by holding a debate on a motion of confidence on 8 and 9 September 1964. As the result of the debate was an overwhelming vote of confidence, Banda declined to reinstate any of the ministers or offer them any other posts, despite the urging of the Governor-General to compromise. After some unrest, and clashes between supporters of the ex-ministers and of Banda, most of the former left Malawi in October with their families and leading supporters, for Zambia or Tanzania. One ex-minister, Henry Chipembere went into hiding inside Malawi and, in February 1965 led a small, unsuccessful armed uprising. After its failure, he was able to arrange for his transfer to the USA. Another ex-minister, Yatuta Chisiza, organised an even smaller incursion from Mozambique in 1967, in which he was killed. Several of the former ministers died in exile or, in the case of Orton Chirwa in a Malawian jail, but some survived to return to Malawi after Banda was deposed and to return to public life.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Khumbize Chiponda</span> Malawian Minister of Health and politician

Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda is a Malawian politician. In 2020 she became Minister of Health in Malawi.

Timothy Mtambo of Chitipa is a Malawian politician and serves as Minister of Civic Education and National Unity in Malawi government since 2020. Prior to active politics, Mtambo was a human rights activist. He is mostly known for the role he played by leading demonstrations against the regime of President Peter Mutharika, accusing the regime of nepotism and corruption. Mtambo also holds the position of Commander in Chief of Citizen for Transformation Movement (CFT).

Zomba Central Prison is a referral national prison in Malawi. It is the biggest prison in Malawi. In January 2024, the prison was moved to Lilongwe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Political history of Malawi</span> History of Malawi

The political history of Malawi spans over a century. Malawi, then Nyasaland, effectively became a one-party state in August 1961, when the country held its first general elections, and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) led by Hastings Kamuzu Banda became the dominant force. This status was formalized in 1966 when the constitution declared the MCP the sole legitimate political party. However, in 1993, the constitution was amended to introduce a multiparty system, paving the way for the emergence of new political parties. The United Democratic Front (UDF) quickly rose to prominence, and since then, other parties have also gained ground. The constitution guarantees all citizens aged 18 and above the right to participate in the political process, including the right to run for public office. Women and minority groups have made significant strides in Malawian politics, holding various positions in the National Assembly, cabinet, and judiciary, and contributing to the country's political landscape.

The Minister of Agriculture of Malawi is a cabinet position in the Malawi government responsible for the country's agricultural sector. The Minister of Agriculture is further responsible for formulating and implementing policies aimed at promoting agricultural productivity, improving food security, and enhancing the livelihoods of farmers. The minister also oversees the development of irrigation systems, agricultural research, and extension services.


  1. Wikman, Björn (2012). "The institutionalisation of political parties in Malawi". Lunds University. p. 13. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  2. Manzano, Dulce (9 June 2017). Bringing Down the Educational Wall: Political Regimes, Ideology, and the Expansion of Education. Cambridge University Press. p. 89. ISBN   9781108508681 . Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  3. "President Chakwera meets MCP Diaspora Leaders in London". Nyasa Times. August 2021.
  4. "MCP Diaspora Network Elects New Committee: Chalo Mvula becomes new leader". Nyasa Times. 3 November 2020.