Beyond impunity: New directions for governance in Malawi


Kenneth R. Ross
Zomba Theological College
Asiyati Lorraine Chiweza
University of Malawi
Wapulumuka O. Mulwafu
Mzuzu University


"This comprehensive, compelling, accessible and timely volume should be compulsory reading to academics, policy makers, social activists, and the general public in Malawi and elsewhere on the continent. It is the best book I have read recently on the country’s complex, contradictory, messy, and disappointing political and socioeconomic dispensation since the dawn of the era of multiparty democracy in 1994. It mirrors the trajectories, and provides critical insights and invaluable lessons on, Africa’s enduring struggles to construct democratic developmental states as envisaged by the late great Malawian public intellectual, Thandika Mkandawire.

The quality of the chapters is as impressive as the range of topics covered is exhaustive. Each of the sixteen chapters is extensively researched, cogently argued, and well written. Admirably, the chapters combine copious empirical data and sophisticated theoretical analysis. They often seek to place the developments in Malawi in the wider African, and sometimes global, contexts, thus illuminating the general literature on the political economies of Africa’s postcolonies and the global South more broadly. This is one reason this book should appeal to a much wider audience than its Malawian emplacement might otherwise suggest.

The authors represent the cream of Malawian scholars, both seasoned and upcoming, located in the universities, think tanks, and public agencies. Some are renowned public intellectuals who have honed their professional lives and praxis in the often demanding and dangerous whirlpool of social activism. They all write with fervour and a sense of urgency, while maintaining the academic disposition of dispassionate analysis. This is an uneasy balance to maintain, but many are able to pull it off. They seem animated by the lingering spirits of a national intelligentsia from the bygone era of African nationalism that was driven by the historic and humanistic struggles and agendas for self-determination, nation-building, democracy, and development."

- from the Foreword by Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Vice Chancellor, United States lnternational University-Africa


  • Beyond impunity
    New directions for governance in Malawi


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The cover photograph was taken by photojournalist Jacob Nankhonya, Assistant Technical Editor at Nation Publications Ltd, and is used by his kind permission. It shows a demonstration in August 2019 that was part of the “One Million March” that called for the resignation of Jane Ansah, Chair of the Malawi Electoral Commission, in the aftermath of the 2019 Presidential election. The demonstrators are on the road close to Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe as they had just passed through the suburb of Mchesi. The placard states, “Chisankho cha Tippex takana,” meaning “We refuse to accept the outcome of the Tippex election.”


13 April 2022


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