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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

Party Abbr. Leader Political position Ideology 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

Party Acronym Year Founded Founder President Vice-president Party colours Slogan Emblem Status
Alliance for Democracy AFORD 1993 Chakufwa Chihana Dindi Gowa-Nyasulu Active
Congress for Democracy (Malawi) CODE YR Ralph Kasambara Ralph Kasambara Light blue Active
Democratic Progressive Party DPP 2005 Bingu wa Mutharika Peter Mutharika Goodall Gondwe Light blue Active
Malawi Congress Party MCP 1959 Kamuzu Banda Dr Lazarus Chakwera Black, red, green Kwacha cockerel Active
Malawi Forum for Unity and Development MAFUNDE 2004 Active
Movement for Genuine Democratic Change A 2004 unknown
Malawi Democratic Party MDP 2004 Kamlepo Kalua Kamlepo Kalua unknown
National Democratic Alliance NDC YR Brown Mpinganjira Dissolved
National Unity Party NUP 2004 Active
New Republican Party NRP 2009 Gwanda Chakuamba Gwanda Chakuamba unknown
People's Party PP 2011 Joyce Banda Joyce Banda Orange Unity, Equality, Development lock and key Active
Peoples Progressive Movement PPM 2003 Mark Katsonga & Aleke Banda Mark Katsonga unknown
People's Transformation Party PETRA YR Kamuzu Chibambo Kamuzu Chibambo Active
Republican Party RP 2004 Stanely Masauli & Gwanda Chakuamba Stanely Masauli unknown
Umodzi Party UP 2013 Prof John Chisi Prof John Chisi Timothy Kamulete Royal Blue Umodzi wafika! Active
United Democratic Front UDF 1992 Bakili Muluzi Austin Muluzi Yellow Active

Party coalitions

Coalition Name Acronym Coalition Parties Year(s) President Vice-President Party Colors Slogan Emblem Status
Mgwirizano Coalition MC MDP, MAFUNDE, MGDC, NUP, PPM, PETRA, RP 2004 P VP PC S E Dissolved
Grand Coalition GC CODE, PP, PPM, PETRA, UDF 2011–present P VP PC S E Active

Party by year

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Cordrey, James (13 June 1993). "Malawi Opposition Leader Tells of Years in Prison Chakufwa Chihana Thanked The Local Chapter of Amnesty International For His Release. - Philly.com". Articles.philly.com.
  2. ^ "Chakufwa Chihana, 67, Malawi Politician, Is Dead - The New York Times". The New York Times. Agence France-Presse. 15 June 2006.
  3. ^ Shola Adenekan (12 July 2006). "Obituary: Chakufwa Chihana | News". The Guardian.
  4. ^ "Welcome to nginx eaa1a9e1db47ffcca16305566a6efba4!". fearlessgeneration.com. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  5. ^ "Chakufwa Chihana Video | Interviews". Ovguide.com.